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Information sharing key to fighting cyber crime

The maritime industry needs to undergo a cultural change concerning the sharing of information on cyber attacks, Chris Henny, senior technical advisor – maritime, Airbus Defence & Space, told the Seatrade Maritime Middle East Exhibition & Conference in Dubai on Tuesday.

At present, most companies are reluctant to reveal they been targeted by cyber criminals for fear of reputational damage, but Henny said the sharing of information between ship owners, vessels, ports and the wider maritime supply chain will help mitigate some of the risk.

“The secrecy needs to go,” Henny said. “At Airbus, we work with Boeing to fight cyber criminals as an attack on one is potentially an attack on the whole industry.”

Henny added that the timely reporting of cyber attacks is crucial for the industry get an accurate picture of the scale of the problem. From that information, statistics can be developed and these will help insurers to better calculate cyber risk.

Last year, Airbus and the CSO Alliance launched the Maritime Cyber Alliance, a cyber incident reporting platform, with technology partner Wididi.

Read more: Cyber crime anonymous

Henny said a modern containership might have as many as 20,000 sensors fitted, which increases the attack surface for hackers, making ships more vulnerable than ever to malicious actors.

It is estimated that a cyber criminal is in a ship’s systems for 220-440 days before executing an attack. The ballast, navigation systems, power control, administration system and the captain’s PC are most commonly targeted.

Read all the coverage from Seatrade Maritime Middle East 2018 with Seatrade Maritime News reporting live on the ground

The 2017 cyber attack on the world’s largest shipping line cost $340m. Maersk had to replace 4,000 servers, 45,000 PCs and its entire booking system. Some 70 ports worldwide were also disrupted by the attack on the Danish firm.

Seatrade Maritime Middle East is being held in Dubai on 29 – 31 October and is part of UAE Maritime Week, which runs until 1 November.

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