A staff at CyberKeel investigated the email activity at a shipping firm, and he made a shocking discovery.
“Someone had hacked into the systems of the company and planted a small virus,” “They would then monitor all emails to and from people in the finance department.” explains co-founder Lars Jensen.
Whenever one of the firm’s fuel suppliers would send an email asking for payment, the virus simply changed the text of the message before it was read, adding a different bank account number.
“Several million dollars,” says Mr Jensen, were transferred to the hackers before the company will discover. But Mr Jensen has long believed that that the shipping industry needs to protect itself better against hackers – the fraud case dealt with by CyberKeel was just another example.
Breaking into a shipping firm’s computer systems can allow attackers to access sensitive information. One of the most serious cases that have been made public concerns a global shipping conglomerate that was hacked by pirates.
They wanted to find out which vessels were transporting the particular cargo they planned to seize.
A report on the case by the cyber-security team at telecoms company Verizon describes the precision of the operation.
“They’d board a vessel, locate by barcode specific sought-after crates containing valuables, steal the contents of that crate – and that crate only – and then depart the vessel without further incident,” it states.