UPDATE: Recent research reveals the global cyberattacks were caused by a "wiper" virus, not ransomware. Such viruses delete data, rather than just lock them for financial gain. This means companies may take longer to recover from their respective attacks. Read more on CIO Dive.
- FedEx stated Wednesday an information systems virus had infiltrated TNT Express, disrupting the European subsidiary's worldwide operations. However, no data breach had been detected.
- The company stated it would offer FedEx Express services as alternatives for TNT Express clients, and the virus had not spread to other FedEx systems.
- The company did not explicitly state whether the virus was similar to the one that affected A.P. Moller Maersk and others, except for a notice on TNT's website stating "like many other companies worldwide," the company was experiencing "interference" on its systems.
The recent cyberattacks against FedEx and Maersk reveal the scale of impact security breaches can have on global logistics at moment's notice.
TNT Express is FedEx's European subsidiary, and although details of the disruption are unavailable, moving cargo requests onto FedEx Express' network is likely to strain capacity for both present and future orders to, from and within Europe.
Supply Chain Dive reported Wednesday several of Maersk's terminals had been affected as well, completely halting or at least stalling port operations worldwide. "The majority of our terminals are now operational," the company said in an online statement at 4:55 p.m. Wednesday. "Some of these terminals are operating slower than usual or with limited functionality."
However, the impact on freight was not limited to port operations as the world's largest container carrier's booking system was also shut down due to the cyberattack. Freight forwarders and shippers, then, were also directly affected. At 9:55 p.m. Wednesday, Kuehne + Nagel tweeted the company had finally been able to access Maersk's systems. Thursday morning, Maersk announced its booking system was back online, via Twitter.
K+N can place again bookings with Mærsk Line !— Kuehne + Nagel (@KNSeafreight) June 29, 2017
The incident highlights the need for logistics continuity plans in case of disruption, and the growing threat of cyberattacks worldwide.
However, recent surveys show reluctance remains among shippers, as roughly 40% of supply chain managers do not plan ahead, despite the frequent instances of operational risks like equipment failure and data breaches disrupting supply chains.
Yet, recent attacks also reveal even the most advanced companies may not have the security systems necessary to withstand attempts at hacking. Now more than ever, it is clear cybersecurity is not a "one and done" endeavor, but one that requires continual maintenance and updates. In response to these needs, companies like IBM, Apple and Cisco are joining together to collaborate on producing more effective systems.
Whether in-house or outsourced, there is no denying the rising importance of cybersecurity for global supply chains after these incidents, or as companies continue to push digitization and connected systems.