Why is Cyber Security Important For Ships?

Why is Cyber Security Important For Ships
Why is Cyber Security Important For Ships

On a worldwide basis, the shipping sector has seen massive upheaval in the past few years. Automation is the primary driver of the industry’s expansion. With the increased automation in the maritime sector, ships have ongoing cyber risks. It has become increasingly challenging to secure ships from cyberattacks, and that is where cybersecurity comes in. Ships have used several cybersecurity precautions to avert attacks, but this is insufficient. The constant advancement of technology necessitates the frequent updating of cybersecurity measures onboard ships.

The type of cybersecurity threats is also changing. Cyber attacks are continually evolving, making it increasingly difficult to implement the essential cybersecurity measures to avoid them. Data breaches, ransomware events, virus infection, and invoicing fraud are the most typical types of cyber assaults. It is now essential to safeguard the data on the ship’s servers from these attacks. Cybersecurity safeguards any organization against cyber assaults and illegal access to electronic systems, often known as hacking.

This article shows the rising importance of cybersecurity in ships and the future of cybersecurity in shipping.

Vectors attack on ships’ operating systems

Attacks are most commonly directed at administrative systems, although they can spread from there. And when attacks on the most vital operating systems become more common, the chance of receiving a large ransom rises.

  • Captains’ or other crew members’ computers subjected to phishing assaults via email.
  • USB ports are used for system upgrades and technical maintenance.
  • Risk for business email breach The Gold Galleon
  • Compromised equipment suppliers

Why is cyber security important for ships?

Cybersecurity has the potential to have a significant impact on the safety of the workforce, vessel, freight, and even ports. Cybersecurity is concerned with preventing unauthorized access, manipulation, and interruption of IT systems, onboard hardware and sensors, and data leaks. Cybersecurity policies and strategies address several sorts of hazards, such as information integrity and system and hardware availability onboard and in the shipping company’s headquarters. Various events can occur as a result of:

  • Data transmission issues from the shipping firm to the vessel and vice versa. For example, erroneous chart transfer from the shipping company to the vessel’s ECDIS might result in a trip delay or even the need to replace all charts already ensconced on the ECDIS.
  • Onboard equipment and hardware issues: In the event of an interruption or even calamity, not every crew member understands what to do with every operating piece of equipment mounted on board. It can have far-reaching ramifications for vessel operations.
  • The loss or manipulation of external sensor data is crucial for a ship’s functioning. Not to mention the issues that might arise if hackers hack vessels or shipping business systems.
  • Communication systems are another area that is extensively attacked; without contact aboard the vessel, statements cannot be sent out, the connection between the vessel and ashore is impossible, and important problems cannot be notified.
  • The rise of on-satellite communications has increased the dangers to ships. In other situations, the hackers may be able to reroute the spacecraft and send them off track. Technology has improved to the point that the exaggerated risks we’ve seen in movies may soon become real-life security threats! As a result, because the ships are very vulnerable to cyber-attacks, they must be prepared with enhanced security measures. Port authorities must adequately manage port infrastructure. Invoice fraud at ports is becoming more widespread. As a result, it is critical to safeguard the locations that require higher security measures.
  • Finally, unintended exposure of security-related and sensitive information results from a successful hacking attempt. Sharing this information might result in substantial financial loss, blackmail, and reputational damage to a corporation.

What Cybersecurity Measures Are Needed for Ships?

  • Create risk management procedures

The majority of existing vessel fleets are not outfitted with any cybersecurity protections. It is critical to begin by developing a set of standard operating procedures that clearly explain the duties and responsibilities of crew members in the event of an attack.

  • Invest in network security infrastructure

Using a network firewall to safeguard the internal IT systems onboard a ship would dramatically minimize the possibility of invasions through system weaknesses.

  • Adopt an authentication and authorization system

Identity and access management processes must be in place to guarantee that anybody requesting access to onboard information is fully authorized and approved. Furthermore, as ships become more networked, any entity outside the ship — such as on-shore organizations and neighboring ships — must be authorized before any information is delivered.

The Present and Future of Cybersecurity

The maritime industry’s lack of cyber security is startling. The current state of cybersecurity in this industry is based on obsolete software, and a lack of understanding and awareness about cybersecurity has not helped.

For the shipping industry’s future to be brighter, new and improved techniques of securing digital identity and data must be implemented. Cybersecurity and awareness are the most significant aspects that can contribute to a ship’s safety, and ship personnel must carry out routine inspections and ECDIS procedures.

When hackers require access to a system, they use social engineering. The crew’s knowledge of such items will reduce the likelihood of such assaults. The most effective technique to assure security is to educate the crew about the benefits and significance of cybersecurity.

The crew will benefit from online cyber security course training from Great Learning to learn when to grant access, when not to, and how to report harmful emails if they perceive them as an attempted breach. The sector will be able to dramatically minimize cyber risk and enhance operational business and procedures with training and well-trained personnel.


With the increase in the technological sophistication used onboard and offshore for ships, it is crucial to ensure the safety of the ship’s network from cyber-attacks. Hence, cybersecurity is of key importance in today’s world and must be made a top-priority issue in the maritime industry.

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Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.