Blockchain experts discuss vulnerabilities exploited by the recent ‘Petya’ ransomware attack that has heavily disrupted global industry 

London 29.06.2017 Multiple companies are still reeling after the cyber-attack that disabled a large part of Maersk Line’s computer systems. The shipping giant has resorted to contingency measures such as using third parties to provide freight booking services after numerous container terminals have been forced to shut down. Commentators say that this attack highlights the underlying weaknesses in the existing supply chain infrastructure and industrial internet based IT as a whole.

The event has come at a great cost to many companies, as well as to those who rely on their services, primarily as a result of outdated legacy systems. Industry experts are asking questions related to the vulnerability of supply chain infrastructure as well as examining the wider picture which has seen multiple large industrial firms fall victim to this latest ransomware attack.

Blockchain expert Antony Abell, Managing Director of TrustMe™, comments: “If Maersk had completed their shift from their existing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to a blockchain enabled platform, then the current ransomware attack on them would not have taken place. This event is another piece of evidence that industrial companies must move faster to keep their systems secure in the face of evolving cyber threats.”

Jody Cleworth, CEO of Marine Transport International Limited added: “It appears that shipping lines are facing their own Y2K moment. The current legacy systems in the industry are creaking and vulnerable to attack. One particular problem, for the supply chain is the large number of stakeholders involved – just one weak link can open them up to attack. Shippers are now left dismayed as they wait for Maersk to provide contingencies and some will need to seek alternative lines to carry their freight.

“We are seeing more shipping firms make the move towards blockchain, and as a result, vastly increasing their process security.  This is because blockchains run in a sterile environment. The only way to get data in is through the chain – an attack cannot work, and if it did, it would leave clues for forensic scientists to trace back to the perpetrator.”