Why the Maritime Industry Should Look Into Cybersecurity
Industries around the world are undergoing a massive digital transformation. More and more processes once done manually are now done in computers. The maritime industry benefits a lot from this digital shift, but it must also pay attention to reinforcing cybersecurity measures.
With data stored online and in computer systems, the maritime industry must learn how to protect it at all times. Investing in better cybersecurity is costly, but the industry stands to lose more if big data is compromised. Reports of cyber threats here aren’t that common, but they are more prevalent than one would expect.
For example, the port of Antwerp City in Belgium had to deal with hackers who negotiated with drug smugglers. In particular, the smugglers would ask for the hackers to look into the locations of specific containers. They had to look where the drugs were held and identify the unloading schedule.
Once the hackers get into the computer systems, they can tell the smugglers when they should steal the containers. This gives them enough time to get the drugs before the actual employees of the maritime industry unload the containers. Thus, cybersecurity is connected to a wide variety of issues.
Trouble at Sea
What the hackers in Antwerp City did were terrible. However, imagine what hackers could do to ships that are currently traversing the seas. If computer systems remain vulnerable, cyber terrorists can get into them and meddle with all sorts of data. They can modify the route and increase the risk of severe delays or even put two ships dangerously close to each other.
Furthermore, hackers can disorient those on land. They can falsify the actual location of the ships and even make other structures appear on the map. In addition, there was a case of a drilling rig getting forced to stop operations after a hacking incident. Suspension of work activities not only costs money but ruins the reputation of businesses.
The industry should secure communication at sea and on land. A VPN not connecting iPads or any other devices is not good. IT professionals must recommend only the best cybersecurity software. After all, encryption goes a long way in deterring hacking attempts.
Global Trade at Risk
It’s clear that people are now more willing to order from international countries. Online trade is at an all-time high, which means that cargo ships have to deliver more goods around the world. If hackers exploit computer systems, they can delete cargo data — resulting in utter chaos and financial loss.
It also does not help that some companies are likely not reporting cybersecurity issues. They fear that this could ruin their reputation. But the truth is that any cybersecurity incidents should be reported. The maritime industry should advocate transparency and accountability.
Overall, the maritime industry needs to stay up to date when it comes to cybersecurity. The industry is poised for further growth with the rise in global trade — they can’t afford to have data compromised.