‘Fast, clean and easy’: Pirates hack shipping line to track and seize valuable cargo

Pirates are using information technology to target ships and specific cargoes, a new report from Verizon has revealed.

The tech company was employed by a shipowner to look into a piracy incident – what they unearthed was sophisticated hacking.

“Rather than spending days holding boats and their crew hostage while they rummaged through the cargo, these pirates began to attack shipping vessels in an extremely targeted and timely fashion,” the report said. “Specifically, they would board a shipping vessel, force the crew into one area and within a short amount of time they would depart.”

The pirates targeted specific high value containers, located by bar codes. “Fast, clean and easy,” the report stated.

Verizon then helped the shipping company shut down servers the pirates had compromised and to build a security plan.

The report can be accessed here, with details of the shipping incident on page 55.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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