Major global cyber attack; JNPT port affected

The powerful ransomware code named 'Eternal Blue' has impacted many central banks and large corporations in Europe.

The Dollar Business Bureau

A major global cyber attack which disrupted Russia’s major oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational banks, has affected the computer terminals at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Mumbai, shutting down one out of its three operations.

Sources from Press Trust of India report that the virus has affected many other terminals in the country. The powerful ransomware has impacted many central banks and large corporations in Europe. It has been rapidly spreading since Tuesday amidst growing concerns that many vital government infrastructure and networks are poorly equipped to deal with such an attack.

It has been reported that many businesses in the Asia-Pacific region experienced disruptions due to the ransomware which has been code named as ‘Eternal Blue’ and is similar to the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware that created havoc by attacking many computers last month.

So, intense was the power of the virus that it crippled the computers running Microsoft Corp’s Windows by overwriting files and encrypting hard drives. It then demanded $300 in bitcoin payments to restore access. Microsoft said that many computers have hurriedly patched-up their security packs but have failed to wipe off the virus from spreading.

Kevin Johnson, Chief Executive of a cyber security firm, Secure Ideas said, ‘Cyber attacks can simply destroy us. Companies are just not doing what they are supposed to do to fix the problem.’

JNPT Chairman Anil Diggikar, speaking to the media about the attack said, one of the terminals that was impacted due to ‘EternalBlue’is operated by the Danish shipping giant, AP Moller-Maersk. Due to the attack the port has been trying to clear containers manually and one-third of its operations have been affected.

AP Moller-Maersk, one of the affected entities globally, operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT, which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units.

The Ministry of Shipping issued a press statement saying, "an unforeseen situation has developed at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Sheva owing to disruption in the operations of one of the private terminal operator, APM Maersk at JNPT. It has been informed by the private Terminal Operator that this disruption is a consequence of a worldwide disruption being faced by them because of a cyber attack.  While the Terminal Operator is taking steps to address the issues disrupting the operations, it is anticipated that there could be bunching of in-bound and out-bound container cargo.  The Ministry of Shipping and JNPT are alive to the situation and are taking steps to ensure minimum disturbance to trade, transporters and more importantly local citizens.  Since the congestion could create difficulties in traffic management, JNPT has opened up its parking lots for cargo destined to this private terminal.  Further, CFSs have been advised to hold the cargo in their yards.  JNPT is also working with local authority CIDCO, to identify more parking areas.  Traffic control teams are being deployed to address potential road congestion. 

The situation is being closely monitored and further steps to deal with the traffic situation will be initiated based on an assessment during the course of the next few days.   Dr. Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator is proceeding to JNPT to further deal with the situation."

"We have been informed that the operations at GTI have come to a standstill because their systems are down (due to the malware attack). They are trying to work manually," a senior JNPT official told news agency PTI.

The official explained that JNPT is trying to help the company, but there is little that others can do as the problem s with the systems.

India-based employees at Beiersdorf, makers of Nivea skin care products, and Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Enfamil and Lysol, told Reuters the ransomware attack had affected some of their systems.

(Source: PTI, Reuters)