Cyberattacks and outages hit Desmi and MSC

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 14 April 2020


Two shipping organisations have reported problems related to communications over the Easter weekend.

On Friday 10 April, ballast treatment system and pump manufacturer Desmi announced that two days earlier the company’s IT systems and operations were attacked by cybercrime. Since the attack, DESMI has been supported by external experts and has a full focus on restoring systems to normal operations and assessing the full scope of impact.

“All systems have been shut down and systems are being restored. First part of our systems will be up and running within a couple of days and the rest within a couple of weeks” said Group CEO Henrik Sørensen.

“Everything is progressing according to plan. We are recovering systems and together with external experts we are working intensively to minimise customer impact and impact on operations. Everyone is doing a fantastic job to get the systems operational again”, he added.

At present, the scale of eventual data loss is being investigated and it is yet too early to communicate the impact of the attack, which also has been reported to the authorities and Danish Police. Operational updates will be provided to all customers and business partners.

Over the weekend Switzerland-based liner operator began advising customers of a problem using its social media network. The first message from MSC on Friday 10 April advised of a problem with its main website and myMSC platform. It described the problem as a network outage in one of its data centres.

A follow up message minutes later read “In light of the network outage incurred on one of the data centres in Geneva, we decided to close down the servers in our Headquarters as a first safety measure – since security is our top priority. At this point in time we cannot rule out entirely the possibility of a malware, but we can confirm that our agencies worldwide network is working. And that our local agents support customers for all services as usual”.

The following day MSC reported that “the issue is related to our Headquarters in Geneva only. The servers in the Headquarters have been shut down, and we’ve deployed a team of experts who are working hard to ensure that we can soon return to normal operating conditions.

While the issue has caused and myMSC to be unavailable, MSC’s global agencies network is not affected and continue to serve our customers as usual. All our departments, terminals, depots etc. operate without disruptions. Customers can continue to place bookings via email or phone and booking platforms such as INTTRA and GT Nexus remain fully functional.

MSC also said its email systems were not affected and pose no threat when doing business with it.

On Sunday MSC said “it uses different IT systems to separate Headquarters from the Agencies network to ensure that in case of an issue they can’t affect each other. In this case, the issue is limited to one of our data centers in Geneva effecting solely some internal data processes, and MyMSC. Our agencies worldwide continue to work as usual, all MSC departments, terminals and depots are serving customers regularly and cargo is flowing without interruptions”.

This morning it appears that the main website is still down, and no further bulletins have been issued via social media.

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