Assumed the shipping industry doesn’t have enough of a cyber exposure to be a risk? Think again. Insurers are warning that the shipping industry is a prime target for cyber criminals.

Over 90% of the world’s goods are carried at sea, representing a treasured bounty for cyber criminals. An attack on a shipping or transportation company can have extensive effects, impacting supply chains throughout the world. Ports increasingly rely on communications systems to keep operations running efficiently, and any IT hiccups can create major disruptions for complex logistic supply chains.

June 2017 saw a division of Danish transport company A.P. Moller-Maersk hit by the Petya ransomware attack, which began in the Ukraine and impacted several of the company’s port terminals in the United States, India, Spain and the Netherlands, as well as causing computer outages for the business across the world.

 “The modern-day pirate is no longer going to walk onto a ship with a gun,” said Luis Gazitua, a partner at JAG Insurance Group.

“Now there are two guys behind a computer who can shut down a grid and shut down shipping routes.

“The truth is everybody has cyber exposure. Everybody’s connected to the internet.”

International shipping association BIMCO has recently updated its guidelines on cyber security onboard ships, reflecting contingency planning and response advice aimed specifically at ships, and adding a subchapter on dedicated cyber insurance.

“What ransomware has the ability to do is to impair the operational functionality of every industry — shipping and logistics being no exception to that,” said Stefan Toi, senior broker with Aon’s professional risk solutions group in New York.

If you are worried about the cyber risks your business might face, talk to one of our experienced brokers for an impartial chat.