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Ransomware hits major Chinese shipping firm

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Carlos Amarillo)

The Chinese shipping company Cosco has fallen victim to a ransomware attack that knocked out some of the electronic communications at a number of its North American locations.

The Windows-based ransomware disabled both local email and phone services, forcing the firm's staff to use Twitter and free Yahoo email addresses to handle support queries during the outage.

However, it is still not clear as to which variant of Windows malware took Cosco's communications systems offline and the company told its customers that ransomware was to blame.

In a press release, China's largest carrier of containerised goods offered more details on the attack, saying:

“Due to local network breakdown within our America regions, local email and network telephone cannot work properly at the moment. For safety precautions, we have shut down the connections with other regions for further investigations. So far, all the vessels of our company are operating as normal, and our main business operation systems are performing stably.”

Cosco reassured its customers that it is trying to make a full and quick recovery and that business operations in North America are still being carried out.

This is not the first time that a large shipping business has been affected by malware. Last year, shipping giant Maersk revealed that the NotPetya ransomware had led to a $300m loss at the company.

We will likely find out more on the extent of the attack that took out Cosco's communications in the US once the attack is officially resolved.

Image Credit: Carlos Amarillo / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.