United Nations’ International Maritime Organization Hacked

October 12, 2020

A number of IMO’s web-based services became unavailable on Wednesday 30 September. The systems impacted included the IMO public website and other web-based services.

The email system, including other Internal and external collaboration platforms, are working as normal. The platform used for virtual meeting with simultaneous interpretation has been unaffected and continued to function, without issue, during Wednesday’s Facilitation Committee (FAL) session and is expected to continue to function during today’s final FAL session.

The interruption of web-based services was caused by a sophisticated cyber-attack against the Organization’s IT systems that overcame robust security measures in place.

IMO has ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification for its information security management system. IMO was the first UN organization to get this certification in 2015.

The IMO Headquarters file servers are located in the UK, with extensive backup systems in Geneva. The backup and restore system is regularly tested.

Following the attack the Secretariat shut down key systems to prevent further damage from the attack.

The Secretariat is working with international security experts to restore systems as soon as possible, to identify the source of the attack, and further enhance security systems to prevent recurrence.

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