Electronic Operational Technology (OT) systems that manage ships are used with computer systems. Vessels need to raise their vigilance when they upgrade their systems to electronic components. This is because IT systems may be hacked and manipulated by outside parties.
In the maritime industry, cybersecurity has the potential to have a significant impact on the safety of the crew, vessel, cargo, and even ports. Data protection of IT systems, aboard ship hardware and sensors are all concerns of cybersecurity in shipping.
Examples of Cyber Attacks techniques are Malware, phishing, social engineering, and brute force. Other examples are denial of service and spear-phishing. Cybercriminals can target your ship or company’s systems with a variety of these techniques. These methods are always developing. It’s critical to understand how to spot efforts to get into your systems by recognizing when anything is out of the norm.
Cyber Vulnerabilities in the Maritime Industry
- Systems for cargo management
- Networks for the public
- Communication networks
- Missing or obsolete anti-malware software that cannot guard against contemporary threats
- Operating systems that are no longer supported and cannot be upgraded
- Lack of security processes and protections. This includes employee network mismanagement and the usage of default administrator accounts and basic passwords.
- Systems that must be linked to a server on land to function properly, or are always connected to a system onshore that isn’t secure
How Cybersecurity is Crucial in the Maritime Industry
The maritime and offshore industries are being impacted by a rise in cyber incidents. With an increase in the number of integrated boats comes new risks that can remotely attack your vessels. Hackers can obtain access to or affect their control systems.
Because the great bulk of international trade takes place by the water, the global economy is heavily reliant on maritime transportation. A delivery delay might cost a company a lot of money, especially if it’s farther up the distribution chain.
Cybersecurity has the potential to have a significant impact on the crew, vessel, cargo, and even ports’ safety. Operational technology (OT) cybersecurity can help secure and prevent unauthorized access, and interruption of IT systems. OT cybersecurity also protects onboard hardware, and sensors, as well as prevents data leakage.
The use of hardware and software to monitor and control physical processes, devices, and networks is known as OT cybersecurity. Information integrity, system, and hardware availability onboard and at the shipping company’s headquarters are all covered by cybersecurity rules and plans.
How to Create a Cybersecurity Plan for the Maritime Industry
All ships and businesses in the maritime industry should have a cybersecurity plan. Some of the following practices can be implemented in this plan:
A security vulnerability is a defect, shortcoming, or error discovered in a security system that might be exploited by a threat agent. The threat agent tries to penetrate a secure network.
Look for security flaws in your systems, such as a lack of suitable employee procedures and software and system problems. Standalone systems are less vulnerable to external threats. Understanding how important onboard systems may be connected to uncontrolled networks should be taken into consideration.
Organizations and people have reasons to exploit cyber vulnerabilities. Company people, both onboard and onshore, may be able to compromise cyber systems and data. In general, the organization should recognize that threats can arise as a result of a human mistake in the operation and management of IT and OT systems.
Also, disgruntled employees can purposefully attempt to harm the firm and the ship. The cyber risk varies depending on the firm, ship, operation, or trade. Organizations should evaluate any special characteristics of their operations that may raise their exposure to cyber events when analyzing the risk.
Implement new security measures such as updated software and server protection. Also, implement features that notify you if a cyberattack has occurred. Different antiviruses and malware can be installed on the ship’s computer.
Anti-malware software protects your data from malicious software like spyware, malware, and worms. It looks for any potentially harmful software that has obtained access to the device. One of the most efficient ways to keep your computer and personal information safe is to use anti-malware software.
Malware software provides several advantages, including keeping your computer safe. But that isn’t all anti-malware has to offer; it may help you in a variety of ways.
Protection from hackers: hackers use malware to get access to your computer. You can browse the web safely with anti-malware installed.
Guarantees privacy: cyber thieves profit from your personal information. Anti-malware software prohibits the installation of any program that steals personal information.
Safeguard files: after malware and viruses have been removed from the computer, you can be confident that your information is safe.
Create a Contingency Plan
An approach for supporting an organization in responding to an issue that may or may not occur is contingency planning. Contingency plans are often known as ‘Plan B’ since they may be used as a backup plan if things don’t go as expected. Determine how your ship or organization will react in the event of a disaster, as well as how you will recover and resume normal operations.
When creating contingency plans for deployment onboard ships, it’s critical to recognize the gravity of any cyber-attack. It is also critical to prioritize response measures accordingly.
The ship’s personnel should be trained on the response strategies regularly. These plans should be rehearsed regularly by vessel crews, officers, and IT support management and personnel. in the same way that safety response drills should be done. These IR exercises and planning should involve and necessitate third-party system suppliers on board the boats.
Maritime is becoming more efficient as a result of new technology, more automation, and digitalization. Simultaneously, cyber security must be in place to address the safety concerns and threats that this new technology entails. Cybersecurity helps to guarantee that vessel operations, crew, and passengers remain safe.