The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a non-profit organization established to fight maritime crime and malpractice is calling for vigilance across the maritime sector concerning an increasing threat of cyber-attacks.

According to the agency: “The threat of cyber-attacks on the sector have intensified in the past few months, with cyber security experts and the media alike warning of the dangers posed by criminals targeting carriers, ports, terminals and other transport operators.” In a recent address, an IMB official reported that incidents of petty-theft break-ins at office facilities, which at-first seem harmless, were apparently efforts by thieves to physically install spyware within a port operator’s IT network. Port facilities often use industrial control systems in managing operations, systems that are sometimes not controlled by informational security software.

The IMG advisory further warns of hackers utilizing social-media channels to target truck drivers and operational personnel who travel extensively and have knowledge of port routing and tractor-trailer overnight parking patterns. Hackers are seeking information such as release codes for shipping containers from terminal facilities.

Targets seem to be containers carrying high-value items such as pharmaceuticals, drugs, and other goods. Further noted by a consultant to IMG is that hackers are the new open sea pirates.

As if industry supply chain teams did not have increasing concerns on global supply chain vulnerabilities, this latest IMG warning is especially concerning.