Accordingly, the notice called "Urgent Need to Protect Operational Technologies and Control Systems" notes the need for vigilance against cyber threats to internet-accessible operational technology.
As digitalization evolves within the shipping industry, computer systems and technology play an increasing role in systems, equipment, and operations throughout the maritime environment. This also makes them more vulnerable to threats and cyber risks.
These cyber actors have demonstrated a willingness to conduct malevolent activity against maritime critical infrastructure by exploiting internet-accessible operational technology (OT) assets.
Overall, internet-accessible OT assets are prevalent across maritime critical infrastructure. Legacy OT systems that were not designed to defend against current threats and activities, along with a failure to take necessary actions to protect newer systems and equipment, create opportunities for vulnerabilities and exploitation. The nature of maritime operations lends itself to interactions with multiple actors and touch points for cyber intrusion, necessitating a continually increasing focus on mitigating cyber threats.
Due to the increased cyber risks, the USCG continues to work with shipping stakeholders to develop guidance, policy, and recommended best practices.