Cyber Awareness & Risk Management

Maritime Cyber Alert 01-22: Spoofed business websites

The Coast Guard Cyber Command, Maritime Cyber Readiness Branch has issued Maritime Cyber Alert 01-22 to inform stakeholders of an increase in fake business websites targeting the Marine Transportation System (MTS).

Multiple MTS partners have discovered well-constructed, fake websites masquerading as their legitimate business websites. These sites are created presumably to steal information from or install malware on customers’ devices interacting with the sites. These spoofed websites are not designed to impact the maritime organization directly but resemble watering-hole style attacks where the intended targets are individuals and entities visiting the site. The spoofed websites are professional in appearance and quite sophisticated, some of which are presenting as .com domains. This level of detail can make it difficult to
discern a real site from a fraudulent one.

Mitigation:
The Coast Guard encourages maritime stakeholders whose websites could be spoofed to regularly review their online presence and validate their legitimate websites. Website authenticity can be investigated by searching the website’s registration information (registrant, location, dates, history, and record information) through services such as ICANN
(https://lookup.icann.org/) or WHOIS (https://whois.domaintools.com/). Maritime stakeholders who discover fraudulent or spoofed websites should immediately notify their customers and stakeholders of the illegitimate pages and report it to their local Coast Guard unit. Maritime stakeholders may also consider utilizing other resources available to combat
these malicious actors including: the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (https://www.ic3.gov/), their web browser’s reporting mechanism, their Internet Service Provider, and local law enforcement.

While not all attacks can be prevented, the impacts can be mitigated. To avoid falling victim to a spoofed website, the Coast Guard recommends maritime stakeholders:

Be wary of untrusted traffic – Treat all traffic transiting your network – especially third-party traffic – as untrusted until it is validated as being legitimate.
Avoid clicking on links from third parties – Where possible, enter the correct address of the respective website manually in your browser or open it via your bookmarks.
Utilize a Secure Web Gateway (SWG) – A SWG is a solution that filters unwanted software/malware from user-initiated web/internet traffic and enforces corporate and regulatory policy compliance. SWG’s have many benefits including URL filtering, malicious-code detection and filtering, and application controls for popular web-based applications.
Keep systems updated – Keep all hardware and software up-to-date with the latest security updates and patches.
Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) – Enable MFA across all applicable end-points to reduce the impacts of stolen user credentials during a successful attack.

Resources:
If your organization has any questions related to this alert, please contact the U.S. Coast Guard at: maritimecyber@uscg.mil, or for immediate assistance call the Coast Guard Cyber Command 24×7 Watch at 202-372-2904.

As a reminder, further information on cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and guidance is available at
CISA’s Shields Up website (https://www.cisa.gov/shields-up). Stakeholders should continually
monitor this site, in addition to Coast Guard messaging, for important updates.

The information contained in this cyber alert is provided for informational purposes only. This information is
based on common standards and best practices, and the implementation of which does not relieve any domestic,
international safety, operational, or material requirements. The USCG does not provide any warranties of any kind
regarding this information and shall not be held liable for any damages of any kind that arose out of the results of, or
reliance upon this information.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.