Maritime Computer Emergency Response Team ADMIRAL dataset ADMIRAL dataset

Publicly disclosed information for this event

Index Number:
A maritime authority is compromised by a virus sent through email. Documents and information on [...]
Day Month Year Country Activity Incident Type
21 April 2012 Denmark Organisation Virus/Ransomware


The victim plays a central role in Denmark's governmental infrastructure, holding sensitive information on the nation's shipping companies and merchant navy.

According to sources, in April 2012, a foreign state-sponsored cyber intrusion targeted the Danish Maritime Authority, other ministries, and companies of the private sector. The so-called "highly sophisticated attack" first used a phishing technique where a malicious virus was embedded in a PDF document attached to an email. When an unsuspecting employee of the Maritime Authority opened this compromised attachment, it granted the hackers back-door access to not only that particular computer but also an additional 13 PCs, several servers, and the larger Maritime Authority's network. The Danish authorities remained unaware of the security breach until files from the Maritime Authority were detected on a foreigh server, known to be under hacker control. This discovery led to the identification of the compromised files, which originated from the Maritime Authority employee's computer that had been infected through the virus email attachment.

There was a disclosure of sensitive business information. As a countermeasure, the Danish authorities shut down the compromised system and surrounding assets for several days. Only after implementing new anti-virus programs was the system reactivated. Several sources in Denmark underlined the attack as similar to Chinese-reputed Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs).


Danish Maritime Authority

Claimed/Reported Threat Actor




Main impact



Recommendations to Organisation to reduce Virus/Ransomware risks:

  • Map, understand, patch and secure your exposed assets on the Internet.
  • Implement email filtering systems to detect and block phishing emails.
  • Train your organisation, personnel regularly against these threats.
  • Install efficient Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tools.
  • Work with your CSIRT organization to better understand the Tactics, Techniques and Procedures used by threat actors.
  • Monitor your IT and OT systems to quickly detect potential pre-ransomware activity.
  • Implement an efficient offline backup policy.
  • Encrypt all sensitive data to avoid further data leaks.
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Disclaimer: the data are provided as is. France Cyber Maritime and the M-CERT take no responsibility for the soundness, quality, precision, nor the eventual attribution made by the referenced URLs. We give a lot of respect and support to the victims of attacks.
Files generated on Monday, 11th December 2023.
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