According to the “Phish and ships” report, by insurance company Novae (based in the UK), says that digitalization could also represent a threat or the shipping industry, but this issue is overlooked by the sector.
The UK group, the risks are not only for the ship but also for the crew and the environment:
“Digitalisation of the shipping industry means that ships are potentially exposed to a range of threats – such as unauthorized interference to electronic navigation devices such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), and attacks on shipboard systems – and as most vessels lack the backup systems or redundancy these are a major cause for concern. The stakes are high – with people, pollution, vessels and cargo all at risk”.
As shipping is joining the digitalization trends to stay updated with other industries and operate more efficiently, the companies often forget to take care of the security measures to prevent hackers from accessing important information.
How vulnerable is a vessel to a cyber attack?
A Cytegic article said that researchers at Micro Trend Security firm reported major security breaches in the Automatic Identification System (AIS) of vessels. This system is used by all passenger and commercial vessels over 300 metric tons.
The researchers managed to break into the system and access data in real time. Another research reported by the University of Texas used GPS equipment that cost only US$3,000 to take control of the navigation system of a large ship in the Mediterranean.
These studies showed that hackers don’t need expensive equipment or impressive capabilities to carry a cyber-attack.
Increasing awareness is the first step
“One of the major problems is attitude, rather than technology. Owners and operators seem to feel their ships and cargo are not of interest for ‘hackers’ –something which is incredibly dangerous. This attitude problem is actually linked to understanding and a lack of awareness,” says Novae.
Hacker could get interested in shipping companies to obtain financial information and personal data from customers. According to the document, there is a need for a change of attitude in the industry to find a solution to this problem.
By Hervé Cozanet – Tour on the ship, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1424828