A ship is a floating network of devices, all of which are potentially vulnerable, though with some being more vulnerable than others, to accidental security breaches or deliberate cyber-attack—all through a mistakenly opened attachment in a crew-member’s email account, or through an infected USB drive plugged-in to an on-board networked laptop.
Global VSAT Forum (GVF) engagement with key maritime sector events was continued recently during the major conference and exhibition Posidonia, June 6th to 10th in Athens. The event, which takes place every two years, is one of the most prominent events in the maritime and shipping calendar and, as such, has been identified by the GVF Maritme Satcom Forum as a significant platform during which key issues on the maritime satellite communications agenda may be addressed with an end-user industry audience.
Co-Chairman of the Maritime Satcom Forum (GVF-MSF), Martin Jarrold, the GVF’s Chief of International Program Development, led a panel session discussion which posed the question How are Developments in Maritime Satcoms and Navigation Influencing the Cyber Approach?, part of the program of the Digital Ship Maritime Cyber Risk & Security Forum, held on June 8th.
Mr. Jarrold commented, “During the third day of this week-long maritime industry event this Digital Ship program panel featured a top-level executive line-up comprising Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime; Ghani Behloul, CMO, Marlink; and, Martin Kits van Heyningen, CEO, KVH Industries.”
The Maritime Cyber Risk & Security Forum focused on maritime sector responses to increased cyber threats borne out of the growing use of cloud and IoT applications, the increasing number of devices used, and larger ships with fewer crew—meaning even more reliance on automation and remote monitoring, and discussed the policies, guidelines and best practices already in place, and how the industry can identify, quantify and mitigate cyber risks.
Mr. Jarrold added, “The dynamic panel dialogue moderated by the GVF MSF, relating to maritime satcoms, navigation, and vessel tracking, and pertaining specifically to the Global Positioning System (GPS), Automatic Identification System (AIS), and Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS), was a significant contribution to the Cyber Risk & Security Forum.”
He continued, “The major themes of the panel discussion all came around to the same fundamental conclusion, namely that cyber security is a complex issue which requires a thorough understanding on the part of the maritime IT community of the potential for on-board computer systems—and the on-shore systems with which they communicate—to be potentially at risk resulting from network connections between a myriad of different ship systems, from the simplest of sensors through to ECDIS terminal technology. A ship is a floating network of devices, all of which are potentially vulnerable, though with some being more vulnerable than others, to accidental security breaches or deliberate cyber-attack—all through a mistakenly opened attachment in a crew-member’s email account, or through an infected USB drive plugged-in to an on-board networked laptop.
In conclusion, the panel was clear that the real solution to cyber risk in the maritime environment is to maximize the leverage to be gained from the advanced technology solutions, and the comprehensive service level agreements, provided by the satellite solutions provider community. Robust connectivity is the route to enhanced maritime cyber security.
In continuing to spotlight communications-related themes that are central to the agenda of the growing satellite-user maritime market, the GVF-MSF will continue to extend its collaboration with the Digital Ship events program—which has previously also included GVF support of conferences in Bergen, Singapore, and Hamburg—to cover programs at SMM 2016, Hamburg, September 8th; Digital Ship Rotterdam September 29th, 2016; and, Digital Ship Singapore October 13th, 2016.