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Shipping Giant MSC Confirms Outage Caused by Malware Attack

Swiss-based global shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has confirmed that a recent outage was caused by a malware attack that affected its headquarters in Geneva.

MSC informed customers on April 10 that its website, msc.com, and its myMSC customer and vendor portal had become unavailable due to a network outage at one of the company’s data centers. MSC said at the time that it did not entirely rule out the possibility that the incident was caused by a piece of malware, but provided no further information.

The incident has now been resolved and the MSC website and portal are back online. On Wednesday, the company published a statement and an FAQ related to the outage, confirming that it had been the target of a cyberattack.

“After a thorough investigation, we confirmed that it was confined to a limited number of physical computer systems in Geneva only and we determined that it was a malware attack based on an engineered targeted vulnerability. We have shared as per industry standards the malware with our technology partners so that mitigations could be made available not only to us,” MSC said.

While this may have been a ransomware attack, the company has not shared any information about the malware and said it would not be providing any additional details at this point.

MSC said the attack had a limited impact on its business, and it has found no evidence that any data has been compromised or lost as a result of the incident.

It’s worth pointing out that if this was a ransomware attack, some ransomware operators have been stealing data from compromised systems in addition to encrypting victims’ files and holding them for ransom.

“During the network outage, MSC’s global agencies and our people around the world continued to serve customers as usual in most cases. All MSC departments, terminals, depots etc. operated without disruptions and the incident posed no threat to parties engaging in business with the company,” MSC stated.

MSC is not the only major shipping company hit by malware in recent years. The list also includes Denmark-based Maersk — Maersk was one of the many organizations affected by the 2017 NotPetya attack — Chinese state-owned COSCO, and Australia-based Toll Group.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.