The Australian government held crisis meetings on Sunday after a major cyber security incident continued to disrupt cargo traffic at several of the country’s major ports operated by DP World.
The incident is “serious and ongoing,” Australian Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neill said on her X account (formerly Twitter) on Sunday.
“DB World manages almost 40% of goods entering and leaving our country,” he noted.
Port operator DP World had to cut internet connectivity at terminals in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle on Friday to prevent “unauthorised access” to its network, a company spokesman said.
Containers can be unloaded from ships, but the trucks needed to transport them cannot enter or leave terminals, said Blake Tierney, Asia Pacific business director at DB World.
The team says it has made “significant progress” by collaborating with cyber security experts and testing organizations “critical to resuming normal operations of goods”.
DP World is working to restore normal operations “as quickly as possible and as safely as possible” and it said the team is concurrently investigating the impact of the incident.
The Australian Federal Police, for their part, have launched an investigation.
According to information provided by the group to the government, the disruption to port operations “will last for days rather than weeks,” National Cyber Security Coordinator Darren Goldie said.
“DB World’s IT system has been disconnected from the Internet, which is having a significant impact on its operations,” he said on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday.
Cyber security experts point out that Australia is not adequately protected against computer attacks and that vulnerable consumer databases make the country a lucrative target for hackers.
Medibank, Australia’s largest private insurer, admitted in November 2022 that hackers accessed the data of 9.7 million current and former customers.
Two months ago, the personal information of over nine million customers of Optus, one of Australia’s largest telecommunications providers, was stolen in a cyber attack.
Last week, the same operator suffered a massive outage with reasons still unexplained, affecting around 10 million customers.
The government has launched an investigation into the cause of the outage, but has yet to attribute it to a cyber attack.
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