A sophisticated cyberattack hit the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Pierluigi Paganini October 06, 2020

The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) disclose a cyber attack that disrupted its IT systems.

The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. The UN Maritime Organization is the United Nations that develops a regulatory framework that is adopted on a global scale to ensure the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

According to the agency, a first cyberattack caused the unavailability of the IMO website, and other web services on September 30.

The agency initially attributed the problem to technical issues, but on October 2, it revealed that the real cause of the problems was a cyberattack.

“A number of IMO’s web-based services became unavailable on Wednesday 30 September. The systems impacted included the IMO public website and other web-based services.” reads a statement published by the organization on its website.

“The email system, including other Internal and external collaboration platforms, are working as normal. The platform used for virtual meeting with simultaneous interpretation has been unaffected and continued to function, without issue, during Wednesday’s Facilitation Committee (FAL) session and is expected to continue to function during today’s final FAL session.”

The access to the website www.imo.org has been restored on Friday 2 October. Initial investigation revealed that the IT systems at the IMO was hit by a sophisticated cyber-attack.

“The interruption of web-based services was caused by a sophisticated cyber-attack against the Organization’s IT systems that overcame robust security measures in place.” continues the statement.

IMO did not share technical details about the attack, the Secretariat is working with international security experts to identify the source of the attack, and further enhance the security of its infrastructure.

At the end of September, the French maritime transport and logistics giant CMA CGM S.A. revealed it was the victim of a malware attack that affecting some servers on its network.

The company currently ranks fourth behind Maersk LineMSC, and COSCO Shipping Lines, all companies that have been curiously hit by malware attacks in the past.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, UN Maritime Agency)

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