Hackers can Exploit Load Planning Software to Capsize Balance of Large Vessels

Ships can be hacked and the reason is its vulnerable messaging system.

It is a fact that ship loading and container stowage plans are created without using a secure messaging system, and there is obviously a lengthy series of electronic messages that are exchanged between the entities responsible for the creation of vessels including shipping lines, terminals, and port authorities. Understandable this flaw can be exploited by malicious threat actors anytime at their will, and this is exactly what security firm Pen Test Partners’ security consultant Ken Munro is concerned about.

On a daily basis, large vessels use a system called BAPLIE to displace thousands of containers some carrying around 200,000 tons’ load. This system informs port authorities where to place every single container, and the ship’s manufacturers very regularly update it. However, if customers do not use its latest version, there is every chance of foul play since criminal hackers would obscure the real contents and weight of the container by altering the information sent to the customs.

Law enforcement authorities cannot examine every cargo and target shipments from countries that are categorized as high-risk. If a hacker alters this information, then investigators won’t be able to detect that a container is marked as high-risk.

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