Report warns cyber-attacks threaten safety of the maritime industry.

DNV: Connectivity Means Cyber Attacks Are Likely to Disrupt Shipping
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A new report from DNV has shown that maritime industry professionals believe that cyber-attacks could disrupt elements of global shipping and even threaten the physical safety of workers. The classification society and analysts explored changing attitudes and approaches to cybersecurity and warned that increasing connectivity could increase dangers and threats expanding beyond traditional IT security to incorporate operational technology (OT). DNV’s report highlighted the impact of cyber attacks on businesses from Maersk to IPO and the increase in cyber incidents across the maritime industry overall. In particular, the Port of Los Angeles is experiencing twice as many attacks, with as many as 40 million malicious incidents every month.

The report argues that the industry is currently only thinking about IT security and is not prepared for how OT connects ship systems with the outside world, where attacks are likely to have a bigger impact in future. Three-quarters of respondents said that OT cybersecurity is now a significantly higher priority than it was two years ago. Over 60% of industry professionals also expect that cyber-attacks could lead to groundings or collisions, leaving more than 75% of responders believing that a cyber-incident is likely to force the closure of a strategic waterway within the next two years.

DNV observes that maritime organisations have been safeguarding data and IT environments allowing data to be stored and transferred safely. However, the risk is now evolving from IT to operations technology which controls a range of physical assets including switches, sensors, navigation systems and vessels. The report argues that only a third of maritime professionals are currently confident that their organisational OT cybersecurity is as strong as their IT security and that there is a need for greater investment in cybersecurity to address growing threats.

Despite the risks, DNV CEO Maritime, Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, argued that cybersecurity has the potential to drive innovation and decarbonisation. The report highlights the importance of tightening regulations around maritime security to motivate companies to increase funding for cybersecurity. Although just over 50% of the respondents are confident in the effectiveness of cybersecurity regulation and their ability to meet requirements, DNV notes that organisations are still preparing to comply with the new rules, leading to a greater focus on the dangers.

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