While data on the extent of the maritime industry’s exposure to cybercrime is hard to come by, it estimated globally that cyberattacks against the related energy sector and its infrastructure will cost energy companies almost $1.9 billion by 2018. In the maritime industry, the number of known cases is low as attacks often remain invisible to the company, or businesses do not want to report them for fear of alarming investors, regulators or insurers, security experts say.
Those cases that are reported certainly bring to light the financial, economic, and legal impacts of cyber threats to the maritime industry. The following graphic gives a sampling of cyber incidents in recent years:
At the heart of all these cases is the exploitation of vulnerabilities among software and technology as the maritime industry continually relies on automation and remote monitoring. Government and industry are often ignorant about the vulnerabilities of the networked, mission-critical computers and equipment at the heart of their operations, according to Clay Wilson, director of cybersecurity studies with the American Public University System. Significant holes have also been found in the key technologies that sailors use to navigate: GPS, marine Automatic Identification System (AIS), and a system for viewing digital nautical charts called Electronic Chart Display and Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), a system for viewing digital nautical charts.
It is understandable why businesses and other entities try to prevent cyberattacks from becoming public. However, greater awareness ultimately leads to greater action and prevention, and this is beginning to happen within the maritime domain as the cyber conversation continues.
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