Unprecedented cyber-attacks threaten shipping

May 14, 2017


Last week, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was in the news for being one of many organisations worldwide affected by a major cyber-attack that Europol, Europe’s Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, said was unprecedented in terms of scale. The attack involved ransomware that locked users’ files and demanded payment to allow access. It has impacted over 200,000 known victims included the NHS, Fedex and the main telecoms operator in Spain and is a sombre reminder of the cyber security risks threatening organisations worldwide.

At GNS we are developing cyber-security solutions to protect customers from the innate risks of increasing interconnectedness on vessels and between ship and shore.  Ian Millen, GNS’s Security & Intelligence Advisor, who has a wealth of information management experience in the maritime, defence and law enforcement sectors said, “Many ships have a heightened vulnerability to cyber-attacks, due to the difficulty associated with updating older operating systems.  There is strong evidence to suggest that many companies are challenged by the ongoing requirement to keep on board devices secure, in support of their commercial activities and crew safety.  We are working closely with customers to help mitigate these risks”.

Phil Stothard, Chief Information Officer for GNS commented, “We can now offer our customers a totally secure, managed back of bridge laptop packaged with our VOYAGER Planning Station and other essential software significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attack.”  He added “We are investing significantly in our VOYAGER ecosystem that is harnessing big data and delivering exciting new digitally-led efficiencies and safety improvements to a wide range of stakeholders both ashore and on board – all within a secure environment.”

In the last few months alone two major shipping companies have fallen victim to phishing scams which have proved costly and damaging.  Our ‘Get More out of Digital Navigation’ workshops are already helping shipping companies assess and identifying measures to mitigate some of their cyber-risks.

To find out more about how we can work with you to help protect your business against the increasing cyber security risk, click here.