There's a new breed of cyber pirates in town

Cyber hacking techniques have now taken over as the go-to strategy for pirates to effectively raid ships of their most valuable cargo, according to a recent cyber security report.

Pirates now find no need for the traditional attack of holding the crews hostage as they go through the ship’s cargo. According to security experts at Verizon, pirates are now hacking into the shipping company’s management system through a code which allows them to know future shipments and routes.

Pirates would gain the barcodes of the exact crate they are looking to steal beforehand and directly hunt it within the ship.

Data from the International Maritime Bureau recorded 15 ships hijacked last year, with 246 incidents of piracy worldwide.

In one instance, a shipping company has experienced repeated attacks from pirates and figured that their attacks were targeted, as they seemed to know the most lucrative items to steal within the ship. in this specific scenario, the raiders have managed to hack the system remotely for a number of months as the shipping company’s directory was not restricted to local access.

However, given that the pirates’ access to the database was unencrypted, it has been detected by the shipper and finally disabled after the breach took place.

“These threat actors, while given points for creativity, were clearly not highly skilled. For instance, we found numerous mistyped commands and observed that the threat actors constantly struggled to interact with the compromised servers,” the report said.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Benoit Daoust