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What's at Stake: Cyberattack in the Global Shipping Industry

The global shipping industry has come of age with more automation, game-changing technologies and the-internet-of-things. But embarking on this voyage has also made it a prime target for unforeseen, invisible, and highly destructive cyberattacks.

Spoofing, jamming, phishing, malware and ransom ware are not terms that were associated with the maritime and shipping sector until recently. But reality has changed and so has the game. Physical attacks are passé and it’s the day and age of cybercriminals who are targeting critical infrastructure sectors like maritime and shipping to cause maximum damage.

According to a 2016 survey by IHS Markit & BIMCO, 65 of 300 industry players said that they were victims of cyberattacks like malware, phishing, and theft of credentials, among others. The attacks led to financial losses, loss of corporate data and affected the functionality of shipborne systems and IT systems. BIMCO’s report points out that the vulnerabilities on board ships include outdated/unpatched software, unsegregated networks, lack of access-control to computers and networks, lack of cybersecurity and safety policies, lack of intrusion detection, obsolete operating systems and low quality hardware used to construct networks.

“We consider the cruise line industry to be at particular risk due to the number of individuals boarding these ships all requiring connectivity. The container industry is also a sector, which requires enormous levels of electronics data exchanges which could be vulnerable without network protection measures in place,” says Phil Tinsley, manager of maritime security for BIMCO.

Apart from vessels or ships, the sector is a primary target for cyberattackers because it is critical for the development of economies and global trade. The shipping industry accounts for almost 90 percent of the world’s trade by volume and contributes $360bn or five percent of the total world trade in freight rates annually. It is complex in structure and involves many players.

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Spoofing, jamming, phishing, malware and ransom ware are not terms that were associated with the maritime and shipping sector until recently. But reality has changed and so has the game. Physical attacks are passé and it’s the day and age of cybercriminals who are targeting critical infrastructure sectors like maritime and shipping to cause maximum damage.

According to a 2016 survey by IHS Markit & BIMCO, 65 of 300 industry players said that they were victims of cyberattacks like malware, phishing, and theft of credentials, among others. The attacks led to financial losses, loss of corporate data and affected the functionality of shipborne systems and IT systems. BIMCO’s report points out that the vulnerabilities on board ships include outdated/unpatched software, unsegregated networks, lack of access-control to computers and networks, lack of cybersecurity and safety policies, lack of intrusion detection, obsolete operating systems and low quality hardware used to construct networks.

“We consider the cruise line industry to be at particular risk due to the number of individuals boarding these ships all requiring connectivity. The container industry is also a sector, which requires enormous levels of electronics data exchanges which could be vulnerable without network protection measures in place,” says Phil Tinsley, manager of maritime security for BIMCO.

Apart from vessels or ships, the sector is a primary target for cyberattackers because it is critical for the development of economies and global trade. The shipping industry accounts for almost 90 percent of the world’s trade by volume and contributes $360bn or five percent of the total world trade in freight rates annually. It is complex in structure and involves many players.

Opens external link in new windowRead Full Article