Port facilities in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium have been the targets of a vast cyberattack, prompting the German and Belgian judicial authorities to investigate.
This hack targets Hamburg, the major port city in northern Germany, as well as at least six oil terminals in Belgian and Dutch ports, according to the Belgian daily The morning, who cited Antwerp and Amsterdam in particular. In Germany, the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office has announced that it has opened an investigation against X for “extortion”.
“The starting point of the procedure was a criminal complaint filed by a company victim of a ransomware attack”, said the prosecution to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Oiltanking, a subsidiary of the German group Marquard & Bahls (oil storage), has confirmed that it has been “victim of a cyber incident affecting [ses] Informatic Systems “. The incident was discovered on January 29 and led to the outbreak of “emergency plans” at Oiltanking and Mabanaft, another subsidiary of the same group, whose activities“ground supply” in oil were also severely disrupted.
“All parties continue to work to allow a return to normal of our operations in all our terminals as soon as possible”, Oiltanking said in a statement. It would be“deliberate sabotage” regarding “eleven Oiltanking sites in Germany”, according to information from tomorrow, which specifies that this operator notably supplies the giant Shell. The police cooperation agency Europol told AFP that it had offered its support “to the German authorities”.
Belgium and the Netherlands also targeted
According to The morning, at least six oil terminals have also been targeted in the Netherlands and Belgium in the last twenty-four hours. The cyberattack, according to the same source, concerns in particular the installations of the operators Evos (in Terneuzen in the Netherlands), Oiltanking and Sea-Tank, a subsidiary of the Sea-Invest group established in Ghent (north-west of Belgium).
In Belgium, the ports of Ghent and Antwerp suffered disruptions to their activities, which prompted the Belgian courts to open an investigation. She was entrusted to a federal police cell specializing in cybercrime. “I can confirm” the opening of this investigation, simply declared Kristof Aerts, spokesperson for the Antwerp public prosecutor’s office contacted by AFP.
A manager of the brokerage firm Riverlake, established in Rotterdam (Europe’s leading cargo port ahead of Antwerp and Hamburg), mentioned the piracy of software preventing the unloading of oil barges. “There was a cyberattack on several terminals, some of which were disrupted. Their software has been hacked and they can’t deal with barges. Basically, the operational system is down”, declared to AFP Jelle Vreeman.