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The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the branch of the United Nations that regulates global shipping, was hit by a cyberattack last week, taking down its website and internal web services.

This followed an attack on shipping giant CMA CGM the weekend before, which brought down its network and booking system. Analysts do not believe the two attacks were related.

According to the IMO, which is based in London, the attack overcame “robust security measures”, but its technicians shut down key systems before it could cause further damage.

CMA CGM reported that booking data may have been stolen, and staff in its China offices were asked not to use their company computers. By late Tuesday, the company said the attack was contained and its electronic communications were secure.

The IMO itself has written guidelines for stronger cybersecurity measures for shipping companies, which are effective from January, as the industry experiences an increasing number of disruptive incidents.

In recent years, all of the world's largest container shipping companies have been hit by cyberattacks. In 2017, Maersk was hit by the NotPetya attack that also took down TNT. Chinese company Cosco was hit in 2018, while the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) suffered an outage earlier this year that was also likely to have been the result of a cyberattack.

Source: Wall Street Journal (1, 2)

Header image: Tom Fisk

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