Ships at risk of hacking, says report

A report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE suggests that while the number of ships lost at sea is decreasing, cyberthreats are becoming a more pressing issue for the maritime industry.

While the report notes a 50 percent drop in ships lost over the past decade, the industry is waking up to a new threat: that of hacking and cybercrime in an increasingly connected sector.

As Security Affairs notes, “The increased usage of computer systems for navigation, container inspection, rapid unloading, distribution of goods and handling goods at ports is easily exposed to cyber threats, if no proper security controls are implemented.”

Maritime cybercrime could potentially target major ports, close terminals, interfere with containers or access confidential data.

The report notes that while the number of known cyberattacks at sea is currently low, the industry is likely to become a serious target due to its size and scale:  90 percent of global trade is estimated to be sea-bound, and increased container ship size means that company losses could exceed $1 billion for a single vessel.

Captain Rahul Khanna, global head of marine risk consulting at AGCS told Supply Management, “Cyber risk may be in its infancy in the sector today, but ships and ports could become enticing targets for hackers in future. Companies must simulate potential scenarios and identify appropriate mitigation strategies.”

It’s not the first time alarms have been sounded about the safety of the global shipping industry. The BBC reported on the spoofing of Automatic Identification System signals in 2013, and last year Reuters highlighted a number of recent cyberattacks including the targeting of oil rigs and ports.

You can read the full report on the Allianz site [PDF].

Author , ESET

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