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Maersk reveals the losses it suffered by the NotPetya ransomware outbreak

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August 17, 2017

Maersk, the world's largest maritime container shipping company has revealed the losses it was a victim of after getting hit recently by the NotPetya ransomware outbreak.

The nasty malware that also attacked other large firms first surfaced in the Ukraine in June after being spread by a malicious update to MeDoc, the country's most popular accounting software.

What happened is that Maersk picked up a severe infection that hooked into its global network and literally shut down the whole shipping company, forcing it to halt operations at 76 port terminals around the world.

"In the last week of the quarter we were hit by a large cyber attack which mainly impacted Maersk Line, APM Terminals and Damco," CEO Soren Skou said in a statement today.

"Business volumes were negatively affected for a couple of weeks in July and as a consequence, our Q3 results will surely be impacted. We expect that the cyber attack will impact results negatively by about US 200 to 300 million," he asserted.

Maersk is a huge global company operating in more than one-hundred countries and is responsible for around 15 percent of the world's entire shipping network.

However, that kind of financial damage is close to a record for such an attack. The company's entire global network was down for several days, Skou told the Financial Times.

“It was frankly quite a shocking experience,” Skou added. “Your corporate email service goes down, all your address system, etc. This is critical. We ended up having to use WhatsApp on our private phones! Most business issues, you will have an intuitive idea on what to do. But with this and my skills, I had no intuitive idea on how to move forward,” he added desperately.

Skou added that he decided to take personal charge of the situation, sitting in on IT meetings and getting daily updates on the malware's progress. He says he learned that there was nothing that could have been done to stop the attack, but he wants to strengthen the company's systems against further similar attacks.

And as we said earlier, Maersk wasn't the only multinational company to be hit by NotPetya. WPP, the world's largest advertising agency, also took a major hit, as did deliveries firm TNT.

While the latter company hasn’t responded to requests for comment, it's well understood to have taken weeks to sort out the various infections in its IT department with a permanent loss of data.

Source: Maersk.

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