One of Australia’s prominent port operators, DP World Australia, has successfully restored its online operations after a cyberattack temporarily crippled its facilities.

The incident impacted container terminals in key locations, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth, disrupting operations from Friday (10 Oct) until Monday (13 Oct) morning. DP World Australia manages approximately 40% of the country’s import and export activities.

The cyberattack, which prompted the company to disconnect its ports from the internet, did not affect the supply chain to major Australian supermarkets, according to information obtained by the BBC.

Operations at DP World Australia ports resumed at 9am local time, following successful tests of key systems conducted overnight.

The company, a subsidiary of the Dubai state-owned DP World, reported that it expects around 5,000 containers to move through the four Australian terminals today.

Despite this development, DP World emphasised that the incident’s investigation and ongoing remediation efforts are likely to continue for some time.

Earlier on Monday (13 Oct), Darren Goldie, the government’s cyber security coordinator, stated that DP World Australia was making “good progress” in restoring its sites.

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However, the government has not yet identified the perpetrators responsible for the cyberattack, which led to the temporary disconnection of the ports from the internet.

DP World took proactive measures on Friday by halting internet connectivity at its ports to prevent any ongoing unauthorized access to its network. This temporary disconnection affected the transportation of containers in and out of the affected sites by trucks.

The cyberattack comes amid other challenges for DP World, as the company has also faced industrial action causing delays in customer deliveries.

Ongoing strikes and truck unloading refusals by workers, who have been negotiating pay increases since October, have impacted operations. The Maritime Union of Australia announced an extension of the industrial action until 20 November.

More than two in 10 businesses experienced a cyberattack during the 2021-22 financial year, compared to almost one in 10 in 2019-20, according to new data released in June by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

There have been a spate of high-profile cyber-attacks in 2023, from MGM to Boeing and, more recently, OpenAI.

Earlier this month, the US led 40 countries in an alliance against paying ransomware, following reports that it was pressuring the countries against paying ransoms.

US software company Netskope’s 2023 Cloud and Threat Report, published 17th Oct, found that around $457m of ransom was paid by businesses in 2022 alone.

Research company GlobalData estimates that cybercrime worldwide will soon reach $10.5trn by 2025. To tackle this growing issue, cybersecurity revenues could reach up to $344bn by 2030.