Another company has fallen victim to a ransomware attack—this time, Chinese-based shipping company COSCO. The impacted infrastructure in the US includes COSCO's local website, phone and email systems, WAN, and VPN gateways. Though it was initially suspected that the malware only targeted COSCO's US network, further investigation has revealed that the malicious code spread to some of its systems in South America.
The shipping giant had taken steps to isolate internal networks to carry out technical inspections on a global scale. While email communications in their network were down, the company resorted to using Yahoo email accounts and Twitter to communicate with customers. During this time, staff members were also instructed to not open suspicious emails, as email attachments are a common attack vector for ransomware. Its centers outside the US have reinforced anti-malware defenses in hopes of preventing the infection from spreading further. Contingency plans such as transfer of operations and conducting operations via remote access were adopted to ensure continuous service in the affected regions.
While every cyberattack is serious, some have more devastating results than others. COSCO’s attack, while plenty disconcerting and disruptive, doesn’t appear to be as serious as some of the ransomware attacks we've seen in the past—like last year when NotPetya cost shipping giant Maersk $300 million. The lesson we can all learn from these attacks is that mitigating threats after they've breached your network is far more expensive and time-insensitive than having a tool in place to detect suspicious activity in real time, and quickly shut it down before it spreads through your network.
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