The shipping industry and tomorrow’s technology faces a serious threat from cyber crime - The Loadstar
Cyber crime is likely to delay the introduction of autonomous ships for several years – and it could pose a significant threat to the shipping industry if it fails to act soon.
There has been much progress on autonomous ships this year, notably from Rolls-Royce, and in October Norway opened the world’s first designated test area. But there is still a long way to go, believes SeaIntelligence CEO Lars Jensen.
“Autonomous ships are a long way in the future,” he told delegates at TOC Middle East in Dubai last week.
One of the biggest problems facing the industry – and autonomous ships – is that it is not yet fully equipped to handle cyber crime, he added.
“_The industry is in very poor shape when it comes to cyber security. It needs awareness among senior management – this is not an IT issue.”
Mr Jensen also warned ports and terminals that they were likely to be in the vanguard of cyber attacks.
Noting several attacks in the past few weeks alone, that took out major sites such as Netflix and Twitter, as well as a telecoms company in Libya and another on domestic routers in Germany, he emphasised the vulnerability of ports, particularly via the Internet of Things.
Companies should be looking to prevent crime at the design stage of technology – and simply encryption, understanding the risk and training would be critical.
“Companies need to work cyber defence into their business processes,” he advised.
“Don’t automate any deals worth more than $1m, for example. Improve staff awareness and technical know-how. It’s not expensive – companies already have most of the tools they need. It’s about training and configuring networks slightly differently.”