Cyber-Attacks New Threats for Maritime Sector

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 25, 2015

Picture: Modern ship's bridge, courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime

Picture: Modern ship's bridge, courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime

 Inadequate protection against cyber risks is becoming a major threat to the maritime sector, increasingly interconnected and dependent from automation. Ports and ships have become target of hackers.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) says that cyber risks a growing concern in shipping sector, particularly around e-navigation.
The IT risk is now beginning in this area, but soon ports and ships could become attractive targets for hackers, says Captain Rahul Khanna, Global Head of Alliance Marine Risk Consulting (AGCS).
Companies must simulate these potential scenarios and identify the correct strategies of risk mitigation, says Khanna.
Dr. Sven Gerhard, AGCS’s Global Product Leader Hull & Marine Liabilities says that a cyber-attack that aims to technology on board, in particular electronic navigation systems, can lead to a total loss or involve many ships of the same company
Other scenarios can see cybercriminals affecting important ports, close the terminal or interfere with container or confidential data. Such attacks can also result in significant costs of disruption, as well as loss of reliability or reputation.
According to the AGCS, over-reliance on electronic navigation aids has caused a number of incidents in 2014.
Captain Khanna said: “Inadequate training at grass roots level is to blame for this overdependence on e-navigation tools. The minimum standards have been met, but this is not good enough. We need to go above and beyond them to give robust training.”
The collision of the cargo ship Rickmers Dubai with an unmanned crane barge in 2014 is an example of the perils of overreliance on e-navigation. Training standards around systems such as Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) are mixed. “Officers need robust training in order to avoid misinterpretation of ECDIS and operating mistakes that could lead to expensive disasters. Beyond that manual navigation aids and skills are still crucial,” said Khanna.
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