Recently, I read a story by Buzzfeed about hackers stealing millions of dollars worth of diamonds.
If that isn’t just fascinating that I don’t know what it. There were two thoughts that came to me when I read the title of the article. 1) There’s pirates? I swore that it was only destined for the fictional character Jack Sparrow. 2) HOW?!
According to the article, in recent months, pirates — real pirates, in the South Pacific — had boarded a half dozen of this company’s ships and stolen millions of dollars worth of cargo.
This is a problem on it’s own but what was most unusual was the effectiveness of hijacking the valuable good. The shipping company was alarmed that the pirates seemed to have advance knowledge of what was on its ships. In most cases, it can take hours or even days to go through the tens of thousands of shipping containers on a major cargo vessel, or to siphon off oil or gas.
These pirates, however, were in and out in 90 minutes. And when the ships’ crews emerged from the designated “safe rooms” in which they lock themselves during hijackings, they found that most of the cargo — cars and car parts — was untouched.
The pirates had only opened and stolen from certain containers: the ones with diamond jewelry inside. That meant the pirates most likely had access to the ships’ manifests and bills of lading, documents that would provide the exact location of the most valuable and easy-to-move cargo on the ship.
“One thing became apparent,” Chris Novak’s RISK (Research, Investigations, Solutions, and Knowledge) said. “This environment was internet accessible.” In other words, it was possible for a hacker to connect to the shipping company’s back end over the internet.
“There have been pirates in that region for a long time,” Novak said. “But the hacking element is new … Hackers can make millions of dollars without ever getting on a ship.” After all, he said, “The ocean is a big place. If you don’t know where to look, for all you know you could be hijacking a ship full of manure.”
You know how it’s said that today is where we have the most technologically savvy people. Everyday we learn more and more about what’s out there in the digital world. So keep up because we don’t want to be left behind.