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Japan’s largest port hit with ransomware attack

Technology

Japan’s largest port hit with ransomware attack


New York
News Portal Space
 — 

Japan’s busiest shipping port said Thursday it would resume operations after a ransomware attack prevented the port from receiving shipping containers for two days.

The expected restoration of the Port of Nagoya, a hub for car exports and an engine of the Japanese economy, will ease concerns about any wider economic fallout from the ransomware attack.

The hacking incident began Tuesday when the computer system that handles shipping containers was knocked offline, according to a statement from the Nagoya Harbor Transportation Association. The hack forced the port to stop handling shipping containers that came to the terminal by trailer, the association said.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that typically locks the computers of a victim organization so that hackers can demand payment.

This is the first reported ransomware attack on a Japanese port, and the incident has “created great concerns over the impact on the local economy and supply chain including the auto industry,” Mihoko Matsubara, chief cybersecurity strategist at NTT Corporation, a Japanese telecom firm, told News Portal Space.

Japanese media reported that LockBit, a type of ransomware linked with Russian-speaking hackers, was used in the hack.

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The LockBit cybercriminal group has been prolific in recent weeks, claiming Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC as a victim last week (TSMC said one of its hardware suppliers was hacked but the incident had no impact on TSMC’s business operations.)

As of midday Thursday in Japan, there was no claim of responsibility for the Port of Nagoya ransomware attack from the LockBit group on their dark-web site.

It was unclear if the Port of Nagoya received a ransom demand. News Portal Space was unable to reach a spokesperson for the port association.

Japanese critical infrastructure operators should drill for cyberattacks on their supply chains and have a response plan in place, given threats from both cybercriminals and state-backed hackers, Matsubara told News Portal Space.

Though this may be a first for Japan, ransomware and related hacks have hit ports in other countries.

In 2017, malicious software allegedly unleashed by the Russian military on Ukraine spread around the world and disrupted operations at shipping giant Maersk, coasting the company an estimated $300 million.

— News Portal Space’s Mayumi Maruyama contributed to this report

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