29 Jun 2017

Cyber attack forces NZ port onto manual systems

1:48 pm on 29 June 2017

The cyber attack that has hit big companies around the world has forced the Port of Tauranga to shift to manual systems to process Maersk vessels.

Maersk shipping

Maersk's cargo booking system was hit by the cyber attack Photo: 123rf

The attack, which spread to more than 60 countries, shut down a cargo booking system at the Danish shipping giant. The firm then close its entire system to prevent further exposure.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said the port had had to make some changes to get a Maersk ship carrying 9500 containers to sail last night.

"We can't electronic data exchanges, but we've got workaround systems and contingency systems in place with Maersk."

The port was working with another vessel carrying 4500 containers this morning and operations were running on time.

So far Ports of Auckland said it had not been directly affected, but that may change when Maersk vessels arrive there tomorrow and Sunday.

Infected tax accounting software blamed

The virus began its spread on Tuesday in Ukraine. It infected machines of visitors to a local news site and computers downloading tainted updates of a popular tax accounting package, according to national police and cyber experts.

Russian security firm Kaspersky said a news site for the Ukraine city of Bakhumut was also hacked and used to distribute the ransomware.

A number of the victims were international firms with operations in Ukraine. They include French construction materials company Saint Gobain, BNP Paribas Real Estate, and Mondelez International Inc, which owns Cadbury chocolate.

The New Zealand government agency handling major cyber attacks, Cert NZ, hasn't received any reports of direct attacks in New Zealand.

The head of its computer emergency response team, Rob Pope, told Morning Report local branches of companies offshore would be affected as head offices shut down IT systems as a precaution.

Yesterday, market research firm Colmar Brunton had shut down operations as a precaution since its British parent company was attacked.

Mr Pope said it appeared to be an attempt at disruption rather than criminal activity, but there was no chance of getting files or any money back..

Mr Pope said if anyone's computer had been attacked they should immediately report it to his organisation.

- RNZ / Reuters

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