Monday, June 28, 2021

Cyber Attacks on Shipping Prompts New Online Preventative Course

Hackers a Threat to Vessels and Lives
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – With the perfect storm created by the pandemic and its effect of normal working methods, coupled with the rise in cyber-crime, much of it targeted at shipping and supply chain interests, comes a new, online course aimed at protecting individuals, companies and vessels from serious and potentially life-threatening incidents.

With increased internet availability, greater use of personal devices, and the mass of data communicated to and from sea borne vessels exposing seafarers and maritime organisations to ever more significant risks, the course, from maritime technology business Tapiit Live, aims to defend against such expanding vulnerabilities.

Launched in partnership with Corporate Risk Consultants, Expol, it is intended to provide seafarers with training that combines the benefits of live tutor interaction with Expol’s specific open-source investigations and cyber-crime expertise. The course launch follows the International Maritime Organisations (IMO)’s Safety Committee Regulation that mandates maritime organisations to put in place measures that support effective cyber risk management.

The ex-police detective and qualified training practitioner team at Expol, who have designed and will deliver the course, are experts in computer forensics and have decades of on-the-ground experience of how cyber criminals operate and how individuals and organisations can mitigate the threats they pose. Based on the Isle of Man, Expol are also the lead investigators and training provider for the Isle of Man Ship Registry which has officially endorsed the course, with Toby Brooks, Deputy Director at the Registry, saying:

“IOM Ship Registry is pleased to endorse Tapiit Live and Expol’s Cyber Awareness training, which provides a good base level knowledge on Cyber Security to help protect our seafarers, ship owners and operators, as well as shore-based staff.”

The course has been designed to instil caution and ensure all members of an organisation understand the catastrophic risks involved with cyber-crime at sea, and that the easiest way to access on board systems is via individuals. Rob Kinrade, Director at Expol, says as technology has evolved, the risks and impacts of cyber-crime have increased dramatically, commenting:

“With extensive on board internet availability, increased use of devices and virtual assistant AI technology, added to the masses of data coming out of vessels and cloud-based navigation, tracking, emergency signalling and performance technology, without thorough training it is very easy for anyone, shore side or on board, to be tricked.

“Successful cyber attacks have enabled vessel theft and literally grounded ships and rendered them invisible, as radars and systems used to power engines can be accessed and attacked remotely. Hacking is no longer in the realm of ‘nerdy’ hackers working from their bedrooms, rather it is a central element of organised crime, and even state-sponsored warfare.”

Courses are created on a bespoke basis for each organisation, and will include easily digestible ‘dos and don’ts’, password, WIFI and device safety advice, cyber terminology, relevant legislation, and information on viruses, worms, Trojans and phishing attacks. Richard Turner, Tapiit Live CEO, says livestreaming sets this course apart, observing:

“We cannot underestimate the critical, and increasing, importance of cyber crime. While I welcome the IMO guidelines, as an ex-Captain I am concerned that mandatory training will result in ‘tick box’ training where seafarers do the course in their own time, as quickly as possible, without engaging with the content.

“Livestreaming means being in a room with course tutors who can ask questions in a common language and assess whether all elements have been understood. Seafarers can also ask about their specific circumstances, directly to qualified experts. This is invaluable in terms of engagement and the propensity to impact behaviours.”