Taking CyberSec Seriously

Digital threats to shipping companies are increasing at an alarming rate. According to Naval Dome, attacks on maritime targets rose by 400% between February and June 2020, with financial implications stretching into the millions. With this in mind, you can see why adhering to the new IMO regulations isn’t merely a legal requirement – it’s an investment in the future of your business, too. Here, we explain why you can’t afford not to take cyber security seriously in 2021 (or any year for that matter)...


Cyber Attacks are on the Rise

Shipping firms continue to rely on digital systems and processes, giving cyber criminals more opportunity to attack. While some of these attacks are quickly identified and resolved, many are not. That’s because cyber criminals now use GPS jammers to disrupt and even disable cargo tracking devices. These jammers are illegal in many countries, but fortunately for hackers, they’re inexpensive and widely available.

If a cyber criminal gets hold of a GPS jammer and can access a ship’s tracking and communication systems, then shipowners, crew, and passengers may face catastrophic consequences. What’s more, with the rise of technology and online communication, cyber attacks will continue to take place – and could come at a high price.

One such example is the famous NotPetya attack on Maersk back in 2017. The Danish integrated shipping company estimated that the ransomware attack cost them between $200-300 million in loss of revenue and recovery costs. Going forward, businesses must acknowledge their vulnerability and recognise the need to implement effective cyber security measures.

The Revised ISM Code

Aware of the growing threat posed by cyber criminals, on 1st January this year the IMO brought in a revised International Safety Management (ISM) code supported by the IMO Resolution MSC.428(98). This revised code states that it’s not just sensible to manage any cyber risks, it’s now a legal requirement. That means operators and shipowners must adjust their processes and procedures to prevent any future digital attacks. 

In particular, the code requires that all control systems in the ship must not be vulnerable to cyber attack, and that operation systems should be sufficiently protected. This is to ensure that they can operate safely, preventing injuries or even loss of life.

If a shipowner or operator does not comply with the rules, they may be deemed negligent and therefore liable for any damages that occur. Their vessel could also be declared unseaworthy, which would jeopardise financial agreements, as well as contracts of carriage. Put plainly, the ISM code means you can’t afford not to take reasonable precautions where cyber security is concerned...

How Virsec Can Help You

The cost of non-compliance is enough to encourage any shipowner to properly analyse the risk of cyber attack. But teaching staff to identify and prevent these threats can be difficult. Especially as most training providers require you to attend face-to-face sessions that can’t take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a result, many businesses are crying out for e-learning solutions and digital technologies that help their staff continue training. And Virsec has the perfect solution. We believe cyber security is everyone's responsibility, which is why we’ve created two online awareness and strategy courses. The first is for senior ship personnel responsible for the onboard security of a vessel, while the second helps seafarers gain an awareness of cyber security relating to vessels.

Want to learn more about our specialist courses? Contact us today on 0161 763 4427 and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

 

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