An Australian based drone security expert says last year's unprecedented blockage of the Suez Canal by a container ship, blamed at the time on a sandstorm, was likely cuased by a drone attack. The total insurance claim from the grounding of the Ever Given could reach well above US$ 1 bilion, one of the mostexpensive ship damages claims in recent history. The six-day blockage threw global supply chains into disarray and, according to Lloyd's List data, held up almost US$ 1bilion worth of trade. Vornik said his company operates in about 100countries and sells counter drone technology to government agencies and also intelligence and security businesses.
Over the last decade, the maritime industry has undergone a digital transformation to increase efficiencies, save money, gain greater insights into vessels and cargo, and develop new business models. But digitization has created a playground for cybercriminals who are benefiting from the industry's security shortfalls across cargo ships, cruisers, boats, yachts, and passenger ferries and their infrastructure. Historically, ship owners protected themselves from pirates with weapons. Today, criminals also use an arsenal of digital weapons to attack. And globally, the maritime industry is struggling to keep up as cybercriminals get faster and smarter.
The rapid increase in cyberattacks on the maritime industry during the global pandemic has highlighted the inadequacies of the exisiting international legal framework and the urgent need for comprehensive and innovative international maritime cybersecurity laws. In a study published in Marine Policy, QUT maritime security law expert Associate Professor Saiful Karim analysed the threats to maritime cybersecurity and called for a specific, international, enforceable legal rigime to deal with these threats. "Ports, ships, maritime supply chain and major offshore infrastructures including oil and gas installations are vulnerable to cyberattacks. The international maritime industry relies on cyber systems for all aspects of operation and management and may face cyberattacks from so called activists, terrorists, and transnational cybercriminals," Dr Karim said.
Maritime and offshore system cyber risk management specialists, CyberOwl have successfully secured US$5.1M of investor funding to support the accelerated adoption of their Meulla cyber risk monitoring solution. Research undertaken by the independent maritime research organisation, Thetius, the market-leading shipping legal firm, HFW and CyberOwl and published in the report entitled 'The Great Disconnect', found that shipowners pay more than $3 million on average in ransom on cyber-attacks. The maritime sector has recently experienced one of the greatest periods of profitability in history and is heavily reinvesting these profits in digitalisation and the increased connectivity of their vessels. This makes shipping companies an attractive target for cyber-attacks. Therefore, there is an increasing urgency for improving the cyber security of shipboard systems.
"Our seas are by far the most important arteries for global trade, carrying over 95% of all goods. But while the maritime industry normally conducts its business beyond the public gaze, recent events have thrust global supply chains into the spotlight... and in particular, the importance of resilient and secure shipping routes. In particular, Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine has awakened and reminded us all of our need as a global community to protect maritime trade, and support an international order based on rules and principles which are enforced. For the Department for Transport, that is about ensuring the security of all networks that move goods, people and information around the world, and that underpin our way of life and our economy."