IEC Telecom, satellite communications expert, alerts on the challenges behind the cyber world and the importance of setting a base on cyber security and protection, so that the vessels will be able to follow safe paths on the Internet and not being threatened by viruses.
Specifically, Nabil Ben Soussia, Vice President Maritime of IEC Telecom highlighted that
Too many companies treat digital security as an after-thought and do not have suitable policies and procedures in place. There is a lack of awareness of how one silly slip-up, like downloading a virus from the internet or a memory stick, can destroy your working environment.
Mr Ben Soussia added that a today’s greatest challenge is that staff members onboard vessels download viruses, as they do not follow proper procedures.
Moreover, the shipping industry has to adapt their methods of working to encompass cyber issues, redefine the existing rules and improve the security tools and equipment with which the industry deals with cyber threats and attacks.
Upskilling is an important step that will help the sector deal with cyber security, as everyone from a vessel’s captain to crewmembers will be fully educated on cyber risks and then implement correct cyber practices.
Recently, in September’s Phish and Ships, Be Cyber Aware at Sea addressed the disadvantages and the harmful effects of under-reporting, which seriously threatens the industry as under-reporting leads to ignoring the existence of cyber attacks.
In the matter of restricting the crew members from using the Internet in order to prevent any potential attacks, Mr Ben Soussia explained that
It’s a case of managing the corporate environment. You need to secure critical systems in a closed network with limited and protected access from certain terminals only, strictly implement proper policies and properly train crew.
Internet access plays a vital role in the life of seafarers, as a new survey from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) informed that internet access for seafarers for personal use on board ships is more widespread and available than previously imagined and provides positive benefits related with this access, which outweigh the feared safety concerns regarding the technology.