November 12, 2014 | Industry Insights

Cyber Attacks Rise Against Maritime Industry

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Cyber Attacks Rise Against Maritime Industry

The International Maritime Bureau warns that the maritime industry could become “the next playground for hackers,” and 2014 has been a banner year with cyber attacks against the industry increasing considerably.

Carriers, ports, terminals and other transport operators are targeted by cyber criminals, who take advantage of the sophisticated IT systems the sector relies on. The technology used to manage the movement of cargo needs to be strengthened, the IMB says. High-value cargo and electronics, such as cell phones, are the most targeted shipments, according to consultant BSI.

The industrial control systems that handle ports and terminals have largely been run by IT specialists and have not received significant attention from chief information security officers, a KPMG director of cyber security told the IMB. As a result, these sectors have not kept astride with threat developments the way corporations with dedicated cyber security strategists have, the KPMG rep said.

Last year, there was a rash of what appeared to be petty-theft break-ins at operators’ offices. It was determined that the burglars were actually cyber criminals installing spying devices on the IT network of the operators. The devices allowed third parties to observe and record computer activity from the monitored network, making it possible for them to download and print or otherwise use critical, secure documents of freight forwarders and transport operators. Using hijacked computer data and forms, the criminals could get access to trailers, cargo, CCTV equipment and even internal communications systems of freight forwarders and operators.

A cyber risk management strategy has to be more than a manual or other document. It must be a way of corporate life that is “robust,” meaning strong, continuously exercised and nourished by smart updates. Keeping your own cyber security strong and vibrant is only part of the battle. You also need a dedicated individual or team who will ask the critical questions of your shipping partners. Everyone in the transport chain should be part of the IT security effort—from hardware protections to Internet and internal digitized communications and data controls.

The step beyond is to also carry a suite of cyber security insurance tailored to the cargo transport industry so, if there is a failure and you are liable for others’ losses, you aren’t left alone to pay remuneration and all the other costs that go into probing and recovering from a cyber attack. At Roanoke, we not only provide cyber security insurance, we also have cyber risk products that help you with internal losses (not third-party) due to certain IT failures or cyber attacks. Reconstructing computer networks and dealing with your own corporate disruptions caused by an attack that shuts down your system or otherwise compromises your network can be very costly. Our insurer partners have developed sophisticated policies to assist with timely, specialized forensic reviews and repairs. It may even be possible to write business interruption losses into such a policy.

We invite you to learn more about us, our experienced talent in this highly specialized area, our creative solutions, and the value we will bring to you and your clients. Please contact us at 1-800-ROANOKE.

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