Spotlight News 6/27/2017

BSI Analysis: Increased Vigilance Against Cargo Theft and Terrorism Risks Recommended Ahead of July 4 Holiday

Companies with supply chain and shipping operations in the United States are recommended to increase vigilance and take additional steps to protect their supply chains against cargo theft and terrorism risks ahead of the upcoming July 4 holiday. BSI analysis of cargo theft incident data indicates that the number of cargo thefts recorded in the United States typically increases significantly over holidays, while terrorists have sought to perpetrate attacks directly targeting holiday celebrations or during holiday periods in Western countries in recent years. Businesses are encouraged to implement additional security protocols where possible, remind employees with supply chain responsibilities about security risks, and ensure adequate staffing of security personnel.

Criminals and other illicit actors are often more active during holiday periods, contributing to the heightened risk environment. BSI incident data show that cargo thefts often increase on holidays, especially summer holidays that fall on or near weekends. In recent years, terrorism risks have also escalated around major holidays in Western countries, as anti-Western groups or their supporters have specifically targeted large groups of civilians at public gathering spaces, notably in the major attacks last year targeting Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France and at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. Both of these attacks underscored the threat that cargo trucks will be used in mass casualty attacks.

Furthermore, the attacks in Berlin and Stockholm, Sweden in April highlight the threat that terrorists will specifically exploit gaps in supply chain security, such as unsecured cargo trucks, to perpetrate attacks. BSI analysis indicates that many countries, including the United States, experience risks of both anti-Western terrorism and cargo theft targeting unsecured trucks. The release of a report by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration in May recommending security measures to mitigate the risk of terrorist attacks involving cargo trucks further underscores concerns about these types of incidents occurring in the United States specifically.

Ransomware Cyber Attack Affects Major International Shipping Terminal Company, Disrupting Operations at International Terminals

A ransomware cyber attack struck the computer systems of a major international shipping company based in Denmark, affecting operations at 17 port terminals internationally. Company officials did not disclose which specific terminals the computer outages affected, however, media reports indicate that two terminals at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands experienced disruptions, forcing the temporary suspension of operations. Port officials have not released more details regarding how shipping operations at the port are affected or if incoming shipments will be diverted. Other shipping terminals at the port remain operational at this time. Additionally, authorities at the port of New York and New Jersey closed the terminal operated by the affected company today, after previously advising customers using this shipping company’s terminals to temporarily postpone cargo arrivals due to potential disruptions. The port of Zeebrugge, Belgium is also experiencing delays due to the cyber attack, however, the port is still able to load and unload cargo. Furthermore, reports indicate that one terminal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai, India has experienced system disruptions due to the cyber incident, which may potentially lead to cargo delays.

Some of terminal company’s other facilities in Asia, Europe, South America, and United States may also be affected by the cyber incident. The terminal company operates 64 shipping terminals in 60 countries. Company officials have not released further information on whether other affected terminals will suspend operations. The cyber attack locks computer systems and demands a $300 electronic ransom to regain access. Additionally, at least three international subsidiary logistics partners of the affected company have seen technical difficulties with their computer systems due to this attack, although the impact of these disruptions on the movement of cargo remains unclear at this time. BSI will continue to monitor this issue for potential business continuity risks affecting shipping operations and update SCREEN as more information becomes available. 

Authorities in Peru Launch Investigation Into Human Trafficking After Industrial Fire Kills Four Workers Employed at Informal Factory

The public prosecutor’s office in Peru launched an investigation into potential human trafficking offenses after a fire in the Las Malvinas district of Lima killed four workers at an informal factory and injured 17 other people. Prosecutors allege that the workers were prevented from fleeing the fire by shipping containers placed on the building’s roof. Some sources indicated the workers were locked inside the containers while they worked. The restrictions on the workers’ freedom of movement suggested that they worked in conditions of forced labor. The building is an industrial facility that houses informal manufacturing facilities, a warehouse, and shopping areas, and loads of fabrics and other textiles materials stored inside the building contributed to the large scale of the blaze. One local source indicated that the deceased workers produced hardware products such as fluorescent lights that were sold on the building’s ground floor.

Hundreds of Textile Factory Workers in Haiti Launch Street Demonstration Calling for Higher Wages

Hundreds of workers employed at textile factories launched a street demonstration in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, marching from an industrial park near the city’s airport to the Ministry of Social Affairs building downtown. The workers launched the demonstration to call for an increase in their daily wage from 300 Haitian gourdes ($4.77) to 800 gourdes ($12.71). The workers’ demand comes amid recent increases in in fuel prices and rising inflation. The demonstration comes after the owners of six local textile factory businesses wrote letters to the Haitian prime minster’s office calling on the government to help end recent demonstrations by textile workers and suggesting that the companies would shift their operations out of the country if the protests continue. The BSI threat rating for working conditions in Haiti is High, while the threat rating for man-made disruptions, such as labor strikes and street demonstrations, in the country is Severe.