The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) lives on as not only people but also “things” — vehicles, commercial and industrial equipment, medical devices, remote sensors in natural environments – are linked to networks connected to the internet. The fact that data is shared with everyone and everything creates a multitude of cybersecurity threats. Just one example occurred earlier this month when a cyberattack took down large swaths of the internet around the world, in part, by unsuspecting devices connected to the internet.
At the same time that the IoT’s shared data creates new issues for cybersecurity, its use in certain applications makes the need to ensure security all the more urgent. Consider that 85% of America’s critical infrastructure — electric grid, gas and oil pipelines, bridges and tunnels — are in the private sector where cybersecurity is fragmented and uneven. You must also consider security of the maritime industry, and the fact that 90% of global trade is transported by sea. Various maritime activities, both land- and sea-based, increasingly rely on the effectiveness and accuracy of Information Technology (IT) and computer data. Vessels are increasingly becoming internet connected and systems responsible for navigation, propulsion, and cargo-related functions now operate in the cyber domain. Cyberattacks primarily target vulnerabilities in these systems where patches have not been implemented. However, it can be difficult to update software on a continuously moving target and in geographically dispersed locations. That is why the maritime industry and stakeholders should identify operating system agnostic automated patch management tools to remediate system vulnerabilities. Only then will vessels be safe from its increasing reliance on the IoT.
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Gnostech Inc. is an applied engineering and consulting company with expertise in information assurance and cybersecurity engineering, and major combat and space systems development and integration. For more information, visit www.gnostech.com, or stay connected by following us on LinkedIn or @GnostechInc on Twitter.