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Following Maersk Cyber Attack, Shipping Industry Is Underprepared For Breaches

Network security and privacy crime. Mixed media . Mixed mediaThe recent Maersk cyber attack shook up the shipping industry, as the company cut its profit predictions for this year. Financial Times reports that the attack has cost Maersk $250-300 million, a dip that sent shares down by up to 7%.

And despite this industry shock, a new report suggests that other shipping companies are still underprepared for cyber attacks.

This is according to a Futurenautrics survey, which found many shipping companies to be unprotected, according to Ship Technology. Overall, data has shown that 58% of companies report being worried about cyber attacks, but this survey shows that shipping businesses may not be acting on this worry.

“The connected ship is becoming more of a normality and the use of IT and more importantly OT on ships is starting to take a hold,” Peter Broadhurst, senior vice-president of safety and security at Inmarsat Maritime, said in a statement to Ship Technology. “What we’ve not been very good at is securing those services up and effectively treating cyber security as a bolt-on to what we’ve got, as opposed to designing it in.”

According to Ship Technology, many of the digital systems used on ships were not built to be highly secure. Broadhurst said that ships are built for all systems to last up to twenty years, and since shipping companies do not update their other systems, they don’t update their IT. He added that many ships are also lacking IT experts on staff.

Most shipping companies find space to be more efficient. For example, point-to-point shipping reduces connection time and the chances of damaged items. While many companies will make logistical changes like this, it takes more work and money to overhaul an entire IT system. Broadhurst also told Ship Technology that many companies will benefit greatly from better cyber security training.

“I think the largest impact will come from awareness and through training,” he said. “Once people don’t click on the embedded links, look out for emails which obviously don’t come from their boss, are very aware of social media, and protect their password, those kinds of standard best practices will make a significant difference.”

As for the financial portion of the industry, Financial Times reports that the global demand for shipping containers is up 5% and is primed for one of the most lucrative years of this decade. According to Broadhurst, as long as the industry understands all of its risks, companies can move forward and continue this growth.