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Maritime cyber threat continues to loom large

24 / 01 / 2022

One year on from the introduction of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations on cybersecurity risk management, tens of thousands of seafarers have now been trained in how to guard against threats to technology assets.

It appears the resolution requiring maritime operators to take steps to halt the activities of hackers came at just the right time. The Safety and Shipping Review 2021 by insurers Allianz noted that all four of the world’s largest shipping companies have now been hit by cyberattacks – and even the IMO itself was forced to take some of its services offline after being targeted.

Shipping and logistics firms remain a prime target for cyber thieves because disruption to operations can have such far-reaching impact. A well-timed strategic cyberattack has the power to bring the supply chain - and global trade - to its knees.

Research from security experts BlueVoyant showed that shipping and logistics operators experienced three times as many ransomware attacks in 2020 as the previous year and a 400% increase in attempted cyberattacks during the first few months alone.

Personnel remain the best form of defence against attack and training them in how to spot phishing emails – the most common route to cyberbreach – is essential. Mintra’s Cybersecurity Awareness course has been one of our most popular courses in 2021, with many maritime operators using it to educate staff on the risks.

The course, which is certified by DNV, provides learners with an introduction to cybersecurity and how, by improving personal awareness, they can play their part in safeguarding technology on board and on shore.

Another threat to maritime security highlighted in the Safety and Shipping Review 2021 is piracy. Last year, 130 crew were kidnapped in 22 separate incidents in the Gulf of Guinea – the highest number ever. The region contributed to 95% of total recorded incidents.

The report also noted that vessels are being targeted further away from the shore – on occasion over 200 nautical miles – and that social and political tensions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic could further exacerbate the problem.

Mintra’s elearning course Piracy and Armed Robbery Training raises awareness of best management in deterring and responding to attacks. Learners undertaking the course gain an understanding of threat risk assessment and how to prepare for transiting in high-risk areas.

We also provide three further STCW and Norwegian Maritime Authority-certified training courses: Ship Security Training for Crew Without Designated Security Duties, Ship Security Training for Crew With Designated Security Duties and Ship Security Officer.