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New maritime cyber security organisation launched

Photo: Unsplash Cyber hacker in mask
The International Maritime Cyber Security Organisation (IMSCO) is a non-profit body that aims to raise standards of cyber risk assessment in the industry.

The launch of IMSCO comes at a time of growing concern over cyber security in shipping, both as ship-to-shore connectivity increases sharply and new international regulations come into force.

IMSCO will offer a certification for security consultants, a professional register, helping shipping organisations to confidently select experienced personnel, and validate reports to be held on central database allowing authorities and third party to assess the risk profile of a vessel.

Cyber security has been mandated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which requires shipping companies to implement measures to protect their onboard safety management systems and to regularly audit them. However, the change in legislation has given rise to a new maritime cyber security industry that has proven to be variable in its approach to assessing systems and interpreting the standards,” explained Campbell Murray, CEO at the IMCSO. 

IMCSO Maritime Standard cyber certification scheme offers training across four disciplines. Cyber professionals who take the examination can qualify as an Offensive Security Practitioner or Maritime Cyber Security Specialist in addition to specific fields including Secure by Design and Cloud Security.

“Ship’s captains often do not have the time to escort cyber auditors for these assessments, this is compounded by a variety of assessment methodologies used to provide risk and technical audit results to port authorities and insurers, leading to needless complexity, overheads and delays. It’s these issues that the IMCSO aims to address, by equipping the security industry to conduct these tests in an appropriate, safe and uniform manner, thus enabling the sector to benchmark compliance,” Murray said.

The setting up of the new organisation won praise from the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) which recently launched an online self-assessment tool for cyber security threats.

“The independent validation of cyber security professionals offered by the IMCSO will help our members to select cybersecurity testers in a much more efficient way, ensuring they allow personnel onboard with the requisite experience. It will make it much easier to comply with the IMO mandate and will prove an invaluable resource,” said  Caroline Yang, President of SSA.