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Lyttelton Port shuts down systems preparing for WannaCry assault

Lyttelton Port shuts down systems preparing for WannaCry assault

Port company warns for service disruption as it hardens its systems against ransomeware.

Lyttelton Port is hardening its systems in the face of the global ransomeware threat.

Lyttelton Port is hardening its systems in the face of the global ransomeware threat.

Christchurch's Lyttelton Port Company is taking its systems offline to prepare for any possible assault from the WannaCry ransomeware causing havoc internationally.

A notice on the company's website yesterday said it was vital the port's IT department put measures in place to limit the risk of attack.

On Tuesday afternoon, LPC chief executive Peter Davie confirmed the port's container handling systems would go offline in order to apply security patches. No attack on the port’s system had occurred, he added.

“Patches are applied routinely and the shutdown is a purely preventative measure,” he said.

“Our IT team has been well aware of the virus but it’s been difficult to find a window to apply the latest security measures due to the high volumes of freight passing through the Port in the wake of the North Canterbury earthquakes, which continue to affect South Island road and rail freight.”

The shut-down will last for about five hours, he said.

“While some Port customers will be affected, they’ve been very understanding of our need to be prudent with regards to this particular threat," Davie said.

The IT outage will be in place from 11pm Tuesday until Wednesday at 7am, the original notice said.

The port company warned the outage will affect both the container terminal and inland ports and depots.

"Due to this outage, operations will be temporarily suspended during this time. There will be no receiving and delivering throughout this period."

The outage will also affect use of the N4 Export Pre-advise system, the notice said. There are no shipping services scheduled to be worked during this period.

Reports of some New Zealand victims of the cyber attacks have yet to be confirmed.

The malicious software, seemingly leaked from the US National Security Administration, locked computers in thousands of locations worldwide, demanding US$300 ransom per machine to be paid in cryptocurrency Bitcoin to unlock devices.

More than 75,000 attacks have been reported across 99 countries, with the UK National Health Service (NHS) crippled, the Russian government infected and the Spanish telecommunications sector at a standstill.

With Europe bearing the brunt of the attack, German railways also screeched to a halt, while US-based courier FedEx Corp suffered interference as the ransomware also spread to Asia and South America.

“New Zealand cyber security authorities are aware a significant international ransomware campaign - WannaCry,” the Government Communications Security Bureau said via a spokesperson on 13 May.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is currently working with the newly established CERT NZ to help combat any potential future attacks.

Microsoft has taken the highly unusual step of developing and releasing updates for unsupported versions of its operating systems to help combat the threat


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Tags lyttelton portchristchurchWannaCryptorvirusessecurityransomeware attackersWannaCry

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