How Verizon Shut Down Real-Life Pirates on the High Seas

Software piracy is a problem in the world of technology, but what about real-life piracy? In a recent cybersecurity report, Verizon said that it helped save a shipping company from actual pirates hacking into its content management system and gaining access to confidential information on schedules and cargo aboard various ships.

The pirates took a modern approach to plundering its victim's vessels, according to Verizon?EU?s Data Breach Digest. Instead of holding ships and their crews hostage while they went through cargo in search of something valuable, these pirates began to attack shipping vessels in more targeted ways.

After boarding a vessel, the pirates would force the crew into one area of the ship, but the pirates would be gone shortly thereafter. During their investigation, crew members would find that the pirates had headed directly for certain cargo containers. "It became apparent to the shipping company that the pirates had specific knowledge of the contents of each of the shipping crates being moved," according to the report.

Directory Access

How did they know where to go? It turned out that the shipping company used a homegrown content management system (CMS) to manage shipping inventories, specifically the various bills of lading associated with each of their vessels. Verizon studied the network traffic surrounding the CMS that was managing shipping routes and found that a malicious Web shell had been uploaded onto the server.

The pirates used an insecure upload script to upload the Web shell and gain access to the directories on a ship?EU?s computer directories, which were accessible via the Web. That allowed the pirates to interact with the Web server and perform such actions as uploading and downloading data and running various commands. It also let them pull down bills of lading for future shipments and identify valuable crates and the dates...

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How Verizon Shut Down Real-Life Pirates on the High Seas

Software piracy is a problem in the world of technology, but what about real-life piracy? In a recent cybersecurity report, Verizon said that it helped save a shipping company from actual pirates hacking into its content management system and gaining access to confidential information on schedules and cargo aboard various ships.

The pirates took a modern approach to plundering its victim's vessels, according to Verizon?EU?s Data Breach Digest. Instead of holding ships and their crews hostage while they went through cargo in search of something valuable, these pirates began to attack shipping vessels in more targeted ways.

After boarding a vessel, the pirates would force the crew into one area of the ship, but the pirates would be gone shortly thereafter. During their investigation, crew members would find that the pirates had headed directly for certain cargo containers. "It became apparent to the shipping company that the pirates had specific knowledge of the contents of each of the shipping crates being moved," according to the report.

Directory Access

How did they know where to go? It turned out that the shipping company used a homegrown content management system (CMS) to manage shipping inventories, specifically the various bills of lading associated with each of their vessels. Verizon studied the network traffic surrounding the CMS that was managing shipping routes and found that a malicious Web shell had been uploaded onto the server.

The pirates used an insecure upload script to upload the Web shell and gain access to the directories on a ship?EU?s computer directories, which were accessible via the Web. That allowed the pirates to interact with the Web server and perform such actions as uploading and downloading data and running various commands. It also let them pull down bills of lading for future shipments and identify valuable crates and the dates...

Comments are closed.