Real chance that Rotterdam port could be targeted in cyber attack
If the war in Ukraine flares up further, the Port of Rotterdam - the largest port in Europe - will likely play a significant role in the supply of military equipment. There is, therefore, a real chance that the Rotterdam port will be targeted in disruptive cyberattacks, Claudia de Andrade, director of Digital & IT at the Port of Rotterdam, said to NRC.
"Hackers are now mainly active in Russia and Ukraine, but the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) estimates that if the conflict escalates internationally, there is a real chance of targeted attacks," De Andrade said. And the port of Rotterdam is a logical target. According to De Andrade, many of the some 3,000 companies directly or indirectly active in the port area - particularly small and medium-sized companies - don't have their cybersecurity in order. "If one company in our logistics chain goes down, the entire port can come to a standstill."
Part of the problem is that only one of these 3,000 companies is designated as a "vital process" by the government. This means that only this one company receives information from the NCSC about digital threats like new vulnerabilities in commonly used software. "You also have a legal obligation to report cyber incidents and recently also a duty of care. The supervisor - in our case the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate - carries out inspections to see whether the cyber security is at a sufficient level."
According to De Andrade, 150 to 200 companies at the port should be considered vital. "The logistics chain through our port is only as strong as the weakest link," she said. And every step in that chain is essential. Ships unload their cargo under tremendous time pressure. Other companies immediately transport that freight to its destinations by truck, train, or barge. A disruption at one company could affect the entire port, Andrade said.