The US Coast Guard reported on a hacker attack on one of its ships

The US Coast Guard warned of a cyberattack aimed at the computer system of one of the ships, and recommended that owners of the ship to take effective measures to ensure the cyber security of the network and control systems on their ships.

The incident occurred in February 2019, when one of the ships was attacked using malicious software.

“In February 2019, a deep draft vessel on a voyage bound for the Port of New York and New Jersey reported that they were experiencing a significant cyber incident impacting their shipboard network. An interagency team of cyber experts, led by the Coast Guard, responded and conducted an analysis of the vessel’s network and essential control systems”, — reports US Coast Guard.

Although the main ship management systems have not been affected by a hacker attack, it is an example of the fact that shipowners do not properly care about ensuring the safety of their transport.

Read also: Iranian APT group invades government networks with malware via vulnerability in Outlook

The press service did not specify which particular ship was under hackers’ attack and which malware was used for this.

However, the Coast Guard noted that:

“Prior to the incident, the security risk presented by the shipboard network was well known among the crew. The same shipboard network was used for official business – to update electronic charts, manage cargo data and communicate with shore-side facilities, pilots, agents, and the Coast Guard. It is unknown whether this vessel is representative of the current state of cybersecurity aboard deep draft vessels.”

As a preventive measure, the Coast Guard recommended that operators and shipowners divide their network into segments order to make it more difficult for intruders to access critical systems and equipment.

They were also recommended to exclude the use of the same credentials by several employees, install antivirus software and regularly update it, restrict level of rights for users who do not need administrator access, check external media (USB drives, etc.) before connecting them to the ship’s network and install patches and OS updates and applications.

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Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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