Petya ransomware hits India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in cyberattack


New Delhi: The virus christened GoldenEye (a variant of the Petya ransomware) by security firm Bitdefender Labs has hit home, with operations at one of the three terminals at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) run by AP Moller-Maersk in Mumbai being impacted.

The virus hit Danish shipping and energy company Maersk, in turn affecting its global operations. According to Bitdefender Labs, Chernobyl’s radiation monitoring system, law firm DLA Piper, pharma company Merck, a number of banks, an airport, the Kiev metro, British advertiser WPP and Russian oil firm Rosneft have been the targets so far.

JNPT chairman Anil Diggikar confirmed the development. “The global attack has impacted APM terminal of the JNPT port which is run by AP Moller-Maersk. The operations at the terminal have slowed down and being entered manually. We are trying to handle the crisis by diverting traffic to other terminals,” he said, adding that JNPT’s operations have not been affected much.

AP Moller-Maersk operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units. JNPT, which ships more than half the containerized cargo passing through India’s ports, serves a vast hinterland comprising all of northern and western India.

“While the DP World and JNPT terminals are operational, the Gateway Terminals India operated by APM is completely shut down,” said a JNPT official, requesting anonymity.

Maersk Line said in a tweet, “We can confirm that on Tuesday 27 June AP-Moller Maersk was hit as part of a global cyber-attack named Petya, affecting multiple sites and select business units. We are responding to the situation to contain and limit the impact and uphold operations.”

Maersk group, through its terminal and infrastructure business, has invested around $800 million in India.

Concerns have been expressed earlier about India’s infrastructure projects with power generation and transmission projects figuring on the terrorist threat list. The JNPT development assumes significance given India’s Rs8 trillion investment plan until 2035 under the Sagarmala programme, which involves the construction of new ports to harness the country’s 7,517km coastline and setting up of as many as 142 cargo terminals at major ports.

Neeta Prasad, public information officer for the ministry of shipping, said operations at one of the three terminals of JNPT were impacted as a fallout of the global ransomware attack.

“The attack has been targeted at the company (Maersk) and not India,” said a senior government official, requesting anonymity.

Such attacks pose a grave threat to the economy and businesses. Cybersecurity Ventures predict global annual cybercrime costs will grow from $3 trillion in 2015 to $6 trillion by 2021.

The 12 major ports under India’s shipping ministry handled 647.43 million tonnes (mt) of traffic in 2016-17.

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