Price hike threat as major ports hacked

Stock Images - Ports
Four major ports have been impacted by a cyber hack. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Paul Jeffers

Australia’s biggest port operator has stalled operations at four major ports after a hacking incident threatened security.

DP World Australia restricted access to its port operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle on Sunday while it investigates the incident.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox told Today the stalled operations “could lead to two things – shortages or price increases as time goes on”.

“The longer this goes, the more difficult the consequences will be,” he said.

Stock Images - Ports
Four major Australian ports have been impacted by a cyber hack. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Paul Jeffers

“We think that most retailers are OK for Christmas but you’ve got to think about things like medicines, pharmaceuticals and clothing.

“The longer this goes the more impact this will have on price and availability.”

Mr Willox said consumers should expect a “backlog” on shipped goods once the ports were back up and running, and this would create delays for some time.

“Imports is one thing, exports is another and Australian companies trying to get goods out to the world are also impacted,” he said.

He said nobody coming forward to claim responsibility for the cyber attack was “very concerning”.

“DP World has done the right thing, they’ve come forward very quickly, but their customers and suppliers all need to check that they’re not vulnerable too because that’s how this works through supply chains,” Mr Willox said.

National cyber security co-ordinator Darren Goldie is leading the management of the incident.

“This interruption is likely to continue for a number of days and will impact the movement of goods into and out of the country,” he said in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter.

“My office is leading the national response to this incident and has been engaged on this since Friday evening when we were notified of the incident.”

Home Affairs minister Clare O’Neill described the incident as “serious and ongoing”, emphasising that the port operator manages almost 40 per cent of the goods flowing in and out of the country.

“This incident is a reminder of the serious risk that cyber attacks pose to our country and to vital infrastructure we all rely on,” she said in a post to X.

The National Coordination Mechanism met on Sunday afternoon to discuss the incident.