The Australian government has initiated a coordinated response to a significant cybersecurity incident that forced DP World Australia, a major ports operator, to suspend operations at ports across several states.
Operations at impacted ports, including those in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Western Australia’s Fremantle, remain suspended since the breach was detected late on Friday.
A spokesperson from DP World Australia confirmed to Reuters on Saturday that efforts were underway to restore normal operations, emphasizing the company’s commitment to resolving the situation safely. The breach, whose nature is still under investigation, prompted DP World Australia to conduct assessments for potential data breaches while simultaneously testing critical systems necessary for the resumption of regular operations and freight movement.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that the Australian government is actively coordinating a response to the incident. The National Cyber Security Coordinator, appointed earlier this year in response to various major data breaches, is leading the official response to the cyber incident, according to O’Neil.
DP World Australia, a subsidiary of Dubai’s state-owned ports giant DP World, plays a crucial role in managing nearly half of the goods flowing in and out of Australia. The company operates four container terminals and employs over 7,000 people across 18 locations in the Asia Pacific region.
The Australian Federal Police have initiated an investigation into the cyber incident, although specific details remain undisclosed. The impact of the breach is described by authorities as “serious and ongoing,” with the interruption likely to persist for several days, significantly affecting the movement of goods into and out of the country, as highlighted by National Cyber Security Coordinator Darren Goldie. DP World Australia has yet to provide an estimated timeline for the resumption of normal operations.
As the investigation unfolds, the incident underscores the growing threat of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, prompting heightened vigilance and collaborative efforts to bolster cybersecurity measures across key sectors.