Maersk discusses its cyber attack


Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman of A P Moller-Maersk, was talking about the company’s experience of the cyber-attack at the World Economic Forum’s Conference at Davos earlier in the week. Describing the effects of the crisis he commented that that “we basically had to reinstall our entire infrastructure. We had to re-install 4,000 new servers, 45,000 new PCs, 2,500 new applications and that was done in a heroic effort over ten days.” Normally, he said, that would take six months to achieve. Despite the huge scale of Maersk’s operation, Mr Snabe asserted that “we overcame it through human resilience, yet we only had a 20% drop in volume. We handled the 80% of the volume manually”.

Somewhat unsurprisingly Mr Hageman Snabe said that the experience made Maersk realise the company was “basically average when it came to cyber security”. However, he commented that in the longer-term the issue would be even more serious as “the next level of dependency on digital will be everything will be digital. The documents will be digital, the boats will be autonomous and hence the criticality of the infrastructure becomes even more urgent… You cannot overcome [attacks] with human resilience anymore”. In the near future there needs to be a re-thinking about the internet and the way IT is run; “there is a need for a radical improvement of infrastructure and a collaboration between companies, technology and law enforcement”

Possibly qualifying this latter point, Mr Snabe admitted Maersk was “collateral damage” in a wider conflict, one which the CIA thinks was between Russia and Ukraine. It might be suggested therefore that the issue goes beyond law enforcement, rather that it is an issue of national security.

Ironically Mr Snabe was sharing the discussion with the chairman of VTB Bank, a Russian bank with close links to the Kremlin.

Source: Transport Intelligence, January 30, 2018

Author: Thomas Cullen