Australia ports operator could be online within days after cyber incident


SYDNEY – The Australian government said on Monday a cyber incident that forced one of its largest ports operators to suspend operations could be resolved within days and that the company was making “good progress” to bring activities back online.

“The company’s advice … was that this would be a case of days, not weeks. I’ve been in contact with the company again this morning and they’re making good progress,” the government’s Cyber Security Coordinator Darren Goldie told ABC Radio.

DP World Australia, which manages about 40% of the goods that flow in and out of the country, said the breach had halted operations at the containers terminals in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Western Australia’s Fremantle since Friday.

After spotting the breach, DP World, one of a handful of stevedore industry players in Australia, disconnected internet, significantly impacting freight movements, Goldie said.

The government had not identified the perpetrators, he said.

The company, part of Dubai’s state-owned DP World, did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. In a statement on Sunday, DP World said the company was testing key systems crucial for the resumption of regular freight movement.

Australia has seen a rise in cyber intrusions since late last year, prompting the government in February to reform rules and set up an agency to help coordinate responses to hacks.

“(The DP World breach) does show how vulnerable we have been in this country to cyber incidents and how much better we need to work together to make sure we keep our citizens safe,” Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil told ABC Radio.

The breach comes as the government prepares to release soon details on its proposed cyber security laws.

O’Neil said the rules would also bring telecommunication companies under “strict cyber requirements”, after an outage last week at telco Optus cut off internet and phone connections to nearly half of its population for about 12 hours. — Reuters


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