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DP World Australia shuts down ports after ‘significant cyber incident’

The Australian Federal Police is investigating a hack that has seen ports shut down around Australia.

user icon David Hollingworth
Sat, 11 Nov 2023
DP World Australia shuts down ports after ‘significant cyber incident’
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DP World Australia, which operates four major container terminals, has been forced to shut down its operations following what the National Cyber Security Coordinator is calling a “nationally significant cyber incident”.

Operations have been curtailed in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Fremantle.

The company detected an intrusion on Friday (10 November) morning, with DP World deciding to shut down port operations later that same day. In a statement released on Saturday afternoon, DP World said it “took immediate action, including disconnecting the internet connectivity, which stopped any ongoing unauthorised access to their network”.


“This has also resulted in key systems which underpin operations at their Australian ports not functioning normally,” the statement said.

“This was necessary to contain the incident and minimise the impact on their employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.”

The company is “working around the clock to restore normal operations safely”.

Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security Clare O’Neil tweeted about the incident and shared the response of the National Cyber Security Coordinator on social media.

“The Australian government is aware of a cyber incident affecting ports operator DP World Australia,” Minister O’Neil said. “The government is coordinating the government response to this incident, with the National Coordination Mechanism to meet shortly.”

“The government is receiving regular briefings and is working with DP World Australia to understand the impacts of this incident and enable engagement across government. The @CyberGovAu is engaging DP World Australia and is providing technical advice and assistance as needed.”

After chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Mechanism, national cyber security coordinator Air Marshal Darren Goldie released his own statement.

“Today, I co-chaired a meeting of the National Coordination Mechanism, together with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to consider and address impacts arising from the cyber incident,” Air Marshal Goldie said.

“This interruption is likely to continue for a number of days and will impact the movement of goods into and out of the country. DP World Australia is working with its stakeholders to consider the impacts on its operations at specific ports.”

According to Air Marshal Goldie, the Australian Cyber Security Centre is working with DP World alongside the Australian Federal Police.

The National Coordination Mechanism will meet again tomorrow (12 November) alongside the National Emergency Management Agency.

Professor Matthew Warren, director of RMIT Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation, believes the incident highlights the importance of cyber security in maritime operations.

“The incident is impacting operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle. Any disruption to docks could potentially disrupt Australia’s supply chain,” Professor Warren said in a statement.

“The government’s new approach to cyber security incident handling and the key role that Australia’s national cyber security coordinator will be key in dealing with a cyber incident of national significance such as this.

“What it shows is the new energy that the government has with dealing with a national cyber incident.

“Australia’s new cyber security strategy will be launched in the next few weeks and again this will reinforce a new approach to handling cyber security from a whole of nation perspective.”

Updated 13/11/23 to add RMIT commentary.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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