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CYBERSECURITY: Shipping lines, airports and critical infrastructure under attack

File Photo: Prague's Vaclav Havel Airport - Getty Images

PortandTerminal.com, April 18, 2020

WASHINGTON/PRAGUE – Prague Airport said on Saturday it had prevented several cyber attacks on its IT network in recent days, reinforcing warnings by the national cybersecurity watchdog of likely attempts to harm the country’s hospitals and infrastructure (Reuters).

This announcement falls on the heels of MSC Shipping Line’s confirmation that their networks had been successfully attacked and knocked offline for 4 days last week.

READ: After 4 days offline, MSC’s website is back. Confirms cyberattack

Several hospitals in the Czech Republic have also reported attempted attacks on their computer systems on Friday, but said the attacks were successfully blocked.

“Attempted attacks on web pages of the airport were detected in preparatory phases,” the airport’s spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “That prevented their spreading and all further phases that could have followed and potentially harm the company.”

Perfect cybersecurity storm

A perfect storm of millions of people working from home combined with a desperate need for COVID-19 information has given hackers an opening.

Hackers have started to capitalise on the situation by sending out emails that claim to offer health advice from reputable organisations such as governments and the WHO but that are really phishing attacks.

Hackers and cyber scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by sending fraudulent email and WhatsApp messages that attempt to trick you into clicking on malicious links or opening attachments.

World Health Organisation – Cyber Security Alert

A Czech official speaking on condition of anonymity said it was not proven who was responsible for the activity the cyber-security watchdog had identified but it was thought to be the work of a “serious and advanced adversary.”

Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said on Saturday the attacks were “extremely ruthless” during the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States is concerned by the threat of a cyber attack against the Czech Republic’s healthcare sector, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday, adding that anybody engaged in such activity should “expect consequences.”

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