Awareness is everything. That is not necessarily the case with the maritime industry when it comes to cybersecurity. A broad spectrum of organizations and stakeholders are bringing the conversation to the forefront, but there simply is not enough emphasis being placed on cybersecurity as compared to other regulated industries. The industry needs to develop a greater awareness of this growing cyber threat to ultimately issue guidelines and recommendations. There are no overarching standards to protect these integrated, complex maritime activities and systems to prevent economic and national security repercussions.
One global awareness initiative that is tackling maritime cybersecurity issues is “Be Cyber Aware at Sea,” providing guidance and raising awareness of cyber threats and risks across the shipping and offshore sectors. It encourages the sharing of research data, best-practice cyber guidelines and educational articles to help all stakeholders understand the challenges and threats the digital era brings to shipping and offshore operations. Spreading the message is vital as its December newsletter noted that 90 percent of ship security officers feel they lack cyber training, knowledge and competence. The campaign is assisting shipowners, P&I Clubs, classification societies, maritime lawyers and flag States with spreading the message to help seafarers understand the risks posed by cybersecurity and the actions needed to steer clear of problems. The campaign’s website has many resources, including posters, guidance booklets and a bespoke maritime cyber training program.
More rapid engagement and acknowledgement is needed in the maritime industry with regards to cybersecurity. Regulations regarding cybersecurity protocols, instruction, and guidance to the maritime industry are needed, and they are forthcoming. At a basic level, maritime companies need to have a better understanding on this issue and ensure staff are also aware of cybersecurity threats through appropriate training before they can begin to mitigate cyber threats through the use of technology and other solutions. Greater awareness is needed overall.
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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.