Frank Coles, Transas CEO, has called for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to set standards of compliance for the communication connections between ship and shore or else create a significant cyber security risk. Speaking at an event in Stamford in the US, Coles opened by stating that compared to the highly regulated ship equipment environment, the connectivity environment is relatively uncontrolled in terms of maritime certification and compliance.
“The connected ship is like a long chain, with each piece linking to the next and at every point there is the opportunity for a failure. It can be hardware or software or both and it can be a cyber virus penetration or simply a denial of service, either of which can cause damage,” he explained.
While there are international maritime standards for GMDSS and AIS, nothing exists for big data.
“This means,” Coles said, “the cyber security risk is left to each satellite operator, each service provider and each hardware manufacturer.”
Coles concluded, saying: “It is time for the IMO to apply the same standards of compliance used for GMDSS, ECDIS and other bridge equipment to the standard communication networks and equipment.
If these networks and the associated equipment are going to be used for operational, remote management and technical decision, it must be cyber secure and compliant with a global set of international maritime standards. Until then we will have a cyber risk associated with a non-standard approach to connectivity.”