The Ministry of Shipping on Wednesday confirmed that operations at one of the three terminals of the country’s largest container port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), were affected following a malware attack on AP Moller-Maersk (APM) — a firm that operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at the port. Given that it will take hours to get the terminal running, the Trust has freed up additional parking space for cargo containers. “We have been informed that the operations at GTI have come to a standstill because their systems are down (due to the malware attack). They are trying to work manually,” a senior JNPT official said. The cyber attack reportedly took place late Tuesday night.
The shipping ministry stopped short of saying the cyber attack was one on India. In a statement issued, it said: “An unforeseen situation has developed at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Sheva owing to disruption in the operations of one of the private terminal operator, APM Maersk at JNPT. It has been informed by the private Terminal Operator that this disruption is a consequence of a worldwide disruption being faced by them because of a cyber attack.”
Read: Petya ransomware cyber attack: How it started, what it does, and how to protect your PC. Click here.
JNPT, which has the capacity to facilitate 1.8 million standard container units, is located near Mumbai. Due to the attack, the private terminal impacted was unable to load or unload material, and officials said they were finding it hard to identify the owners of the shipments, reported Bloomberg.
“We can confirm that Maersk’s IT systems are down across multiple geographies and business units due to a cyber-attack. We continue to assess the situation. The safety of our employees, our operation and our customers’ businesses is our top priority. We will update when we have more information,” an APM Maersk official said, refusing to provide details on the India operations.
Accounting for more than half of the total container volume across 12 public ports, Jawaharlal Nehru Port also handles around 40 per cent of the nation’s overall containerized ocean trade.
Meanwhile, the government sent National Cyber Security Advisor Gulshan Rai to Mumbai on Wednesday to closely monitor the situation. “The situation is being closely monitored and further steps to deal with the traffic situation will be initiated based on an assessment during the course of the next few days. Dr. Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator is proceeding to JNPT to further deal with the situation,” it said in a statement.
The Petya ransomware cyber attack, which comes a month after the WannaCry attack, hit computer services across Europe, Ukraine and Russia on Tuesday, crippling services in the corporate sector. Some western countries, including the US, reported incidents of the attack as well.
Also read: Petya ransomware attack: Why India needs to worry. Click here.
Last month, WannaCry held people in nearly 74 countries to ransom by infecting computers with older versions of Microsoft operating systems, locking their systems and encrypting data until $300 was paid. Services in nearly eight states across India were hit as well. Government services, such as police computers and hospitals, were hit in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal and Kerala. The Southern Railways’ Palakkad division came under attack as well.
(With inputs from agencies)