Shipping containers at Port of Los Angeles, but not necessarily the terminal described in the story. Photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles.

A cyberattack that hit computers at various companies in Europe and around the globe shut down the Port of Los Angeles’ largest terminal Tuesday.

It appeared the attack involved ransomware in which the perpetrators may demand money to restore victim operations. But there was no word from Los Angeles officials if any such demand had been made.

Operations were halted at the APM Terminal, owned by Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk, at about 6 a.m.

Maersk issued a statement confirming that it was “hit as part of a global cyber attack named Petya, affecting multiple sites and select business units. We are responding to the situation to contain and limit the impact and uphold operations.”

The ransomware attack hit businesses and government agencies in at least six European countries, including Ukraine, and spread to computers in the United States, India and Australia, according to various overseas media reports, which also indicated the attack had taken out servers at Russia’s biggest oil company.

Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles, said operations at the APM Terminal ceased at 6 a.m. He said a ship had left the terminal before 6 a.m. and by “happenstance” no other ships were due to dock there Tuesday or Wednesday, but other work had come to a halt as a result of the attack.

“When a terminal doesn’t have a ship it still does some landside operations. It prepares for the next ship and there’s a lot of cargo moving around the docks on the landside, and from what I understand they stopped those operations today due to the issue. They haven’t given us any ETA on when they are due back up,” Sanfield said.

Sanfield also said Maersk told its trucking companies not to come to the terminal. The other terminals at the port were operating normally, he said.

— City News Service

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