DP World Cyber Attack Exposes Employee Data Breach and Threatens Freight Delays


DP World Australia confirmed a cyber attack led to employee data theft and potential freight delays amidst ongoing industrial action, as the company resumes operations and investigates the security breach.

Impact of Cyber Attack on Operations

DP World Australia shut down its operations at major ports in response to a cyber attack on November 10, creating significant delays in the movement of goods across the country. The attack led to a backlog of over 30,000 shipping containers at depots nationwide.

Data Breach and Employee Impact

DP World Australia’s executive vice president, Nicolaj Noes, confirmed that personal data of current and former employees was compromised during the cyber attack. The stolen data included telephone numbers, addresses, and, in some cases, copies of driver’s licenses. While the company is providing support to affected employees, investigations have shown that customer data remained secure.

Investigation into Cyber Attack and Vulnerability

The identity of the hackers behind the attack is still under investigation, with no ransom demand received so far. Mr. Noes mentioned ongoing collaboration with government agencies, including the Australian Cyber Security Centre and the Australian Federal Police. There are speculations that a critical IT vulnerability known as CitrixBleed was exploited, as DP World allegedly failed to patch the system despite an available update. Mr. Noes acknowledged the complexity of cybersecurity and indicated a willingness to make different decisions in hindsight.

Potential Freight Delays and Industrial Action

Following the resolution of the cyber attack-related backlog, DP World is now bracing for possible future freight delays due to planned industrial action. The Maritime Union of Australia has initiated protected industrial action over pay and rosters, compounding the challenges for the ports operator. The ongoing dispute threatens to cause major supply shocks and disrupt freight arrivals in time for Christmas, affecting the national supply chain.