The world is changing, and every business sector and industry will go through a digital revolution. It will bring changes to existing business models and offer new opportunities, even in the maritime industry. These improvements will benefit the industry, with higher degrees of efficiency, safety and reduced environmental footprints. However, maritime organizations must understand that with digitalization comes potential cybersecurity threats.
Safety4Sea’s Smart Shipping Survey revealed that the digitalization of the shipping industry is imminent, and the transformation has already started with the implementation of ECDIS and Big Data. Autonomous shipping is right around the corner as 41.5% of participants believe that autonomous shipping will become a reality for the industry beyond 2030. Lloyd’s Register explores the prospects of autonomous shipping, big data, and other emerging technologies in its Global Marine Technology Trends 2030 study.
Increased digitalization will have a direct correlation with cyber risk as maritime connectivity grows and advanced software and simulation capabilities will result in more complex systems being controlled by software. A vast majority of the Safety4Sea survey participants (78.8%) did not consider the industry to be safe and secure from cyber risk. Maritime organizations should review their approach to the use of information technology, data exchange and cybersecurity risks and threats, keeping in mind that:
- Cybersecurity in an industry like shipping should be based on risk management. Risk management is the ongoing process of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and responding to threats in order to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events.
- Key information should be protected and kept confidential.
- Access must be restricted to individuals authorized to view the sensitive data. To make this effective, data needs to be categorized according to the risk of damage that could occur if a non-authorized individual obtains access to those systems.
- In a business environment like shipping, access to onboard systems is granted to various stakeholders. Suppliers and contractors are a risk because often they have intimate knowledge of a ship/facility’s operations as well as access to key information systems.
- Development of contingency plans is needed to respond to cybersecurity attacks, breaches, or incidents.
- A cybersecurity risk management plan is recommended for shore-based facilities and managed vessels to mitigate threats/risks, provide guidance/solutions, and respond to cyber incidents.
Digital technologies are changing the landscape of maritime industry now and in the future. There is no doubt that the industry will benefit from digitalization and emerging technology; however, organizations need to control safety and cybersecurity risks at the same time.
About Gnostech Inc.:
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.