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Inmarsat: Shipping lines unprepared for cyber breaches

Most shipowners today have not conducted comprehensive risk analysis to cyber breaches leaving the global merchant fleet very exposed to online attacks. That’s the view of Ronald Spithout, the president of satellite communications giant Inmarsat Maritime.

“As ship/shore connectivity improves, ships become bigger targets for attack, more vulnerable to malware,” Spithout tells Maritime CEO. More mobile devices onboard also generate more opportunities to download infected files, he warns.

“Although most shipsowners or operators would recognise that cyber breaches are occurring, most have not completed, or would even know how to go about, conducting a comprehensive risk analysis,” Spithout points out, adding, “Ship systems are most likely to be under attack because they are identified as IP addresses – not because they are shipboard systems.”

Spithout’s company is taking action on this growing concern. Inmarsat recently ringfenced maritime security as an area of expertise within its Safety Services section, and has a team of cyber security specialists. Inmarsat is also developing an end-to-end cyber security solution, which provides a technical answer to report and prevent attacks, plus a programme of awareness, risk assessments and training.

“It’s a mature approach for different stakeholders and the multiple maritime perspectives,” Spithout claims.

In 2015 Maritime CEO partnered with Inmarsat to produce an exclusive 20-page magazine in satellite communications canvassing the opinion of more than 150 shipowners and managers. Readers can access the full magazine online for free by clicking here

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