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The maritime sector is prone to cyber-attacks…

Up until about 2010 cyber-attacks  were driven by the desire to obtain either financially sensitive or personal data. However, over the last 9 years the landscape of cyber terror has changed and companies across all business sectors have been subject to incredibly sophisticated cyber-attacks that are more complex than ever before and attempt to inflict damage to the business through damage to property and operations by high jacking operational control systems.

The maritime sector is far from immune to the hacking threat. In August 2016, French naval contractor DCNS fell victim to a hack that left The Australian newspaper holding 22,000 documents detailing the design of a submarine under construction for the Indian Navy, including combat capability.

On the morning of September 20th, 2018, the Port of Barcelona was hit by a cyber-attack that forced the operators of the port’s infrastructure to launch emergency procedures. A few days later, several computers at the Port of San Diego were infected with ransomware.

The incidents are just some examples of recent attacks that have raised concern about the security of ports and vessels and have illustrated how vulnerable they are to cyber-attacks.

Ship navigation and propulsion systems, along with cargo handling, container tracking systems at ports and on board ships, and shipyard inventories are all controlled using software that makes a  smooth running operation and are designed to be closed to the outside world. As we’ve seen, highly-skilled hackers have demonstrated the ability to penetrate these systems we use, with potentially disastrous consequences.

In our next post we’ll examine the 5 main cybersecurity flaws causing these issues.