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A9X Cyber Security: Shipping’s online vulnerabilities laid bare

A9X Cyber Security, a Singapore-based dedicated maritime cyber security firm, has its work cut out as shipping’s easy target status has been reaffirmed this week with debilitating attacks on French liner CMA CGM and the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

“As the maritime industry continues to develop software and systems allowing online connectivity, automated vessels and leverage technology, some unethical individuals will continue to see this as increased opportunities to exploit onboard systems and any new vulnerabilities,” says Chris Blunt, co founder of A9X.

The software that A9X has developed addresses a number of different areas, with all of it grounded around remote installation and management.

With Covid-19, the ability for maritime companies to continually send IT professionals to remote sites is becoming both expensive and sometimes impossible, and there’s now less than three months to go until the IMO’s new cyber security rules kick in. 

“Being compliant with the new IMO requirements will not allow vessel owners, nor managers to delay in addressing such issues, and our platform and software solutions allows for such threats to be handled promptly,” Blunt claims.

One of the biggest threats for maritime cyber security is poor Windows setups onboard, the A9X executive says.

“Many people are unaware that Windows is not secure out of the box and has 100 plus security vulnerabilities, coupled with the lack of maintenance, or to put it another way lack of patch management, and mis-configuration makes the onboard computers very exposed to cyber-threats,” Blunt warns.

In addition to its existing solutions, A9X is currently working on the development of two new solutions- a remote-updates and patch management for Windows – A9X Update and A9X Remote Cyber Auto-Fix, which is expected to improve the overall security of systems.

Blunt expects the two new software solutions to be available within the next six months.

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