Cyber attack amongst greatest fears for global maritime

The Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2018, a survey revealing the fears of the world’s maritime sector was unveiled at the Global Maritime Forum in Hong Kong on 3 October. In a survey that makes disturbing reading, the possibility of cyber attack rates highly, largely due to the industry’s lack of preparedness and the increasing likelihood that such an attack would happen.

Generally speaking the shipping sector has been slower than some others in appreciating the risk of cyber attack. That all changed when Maersk succumbed to such an attack in 2017, that cost the company US$300m, and Cosco Shipping was also hit this year.

The survey, which was compiled by the Global Maritime Forum, an international not-for-profit foundation dedicated to unleashing the potential of the global maritime industry, international insurance brokers, Marsh, and the International Union of Marine Insurance, received input from more than 7,000 maritime professionals. The object of the survey was to measure the impact and likelihood of various adverse scenarios, and estimate the industry’s preparedness should those scenarios occur.

Topping the most impactful issues was a global economic crisis, energy price fluctuations and cyber attacks and data theft. These risks are particularly to be feared as the industry can do precious little to influence their impact or likelihood of occurring. Cheering news came in the low impact ranking of increased piracy.

Heading the likelihood rankings, cyber attacks and data theft took top place followed by energy price fluctuations and changing trading patterns.

According to Lloyd’s Register chief executive, Alastair Marsh: “Facing this complex cyber threat landscape requires a shift in mindset. The maritime industry needs to take a more strategic approach to protecting critical assets and business drivers.” He adds: “a good approach is to start by getting a better understanding of the threats and vulnerabilities to the wider supply chain. Once an organisation has sufficient knowledge, on who is likely to attack and what they will be targeting, they can then build a scalable security posture that can be continuously adapted to meet the changing threat landscape.”

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