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Monday, March 18, 2019 

Lloyd's Register recently played out a cyber security scenario at a seminar in Athens involving five UK security companies and 60 delegates from the Greek shipping industry.

The classification society asked those present to imagine being an Information Security Manager for a shipping company and while docked in port, a service technician boards your ship to perform a software update of the Voyage Data Recorder system and unknowingly introduces a virus. As a result of the virus the ship’s ECDIS system becomes infected resulting in a denial of service once you’ve set sail. The ship is now sailing without ECDIS and the last course direction was towards North Korean waters. What do you do next?

Roundtable discussions took place on possible outcomes and solutions which highlighted the complexity of the cyber security sector. Running through scenarios like this give the security officers opportunity to verify their own ideas and plans in the same way that the armed forces run their own wargames.

LR, CyberOwl, ESID Consulting, Inmarsat and the University of Plymouth all took part in the event. The scenario was created and overseen by Professor Siraj Shaikh of Coventry University. LR's Elisa Cassi said: “As cyber threats continue to increase in the marine industry, it is our mission to ensure that our clients never make the headlines for the wrong reasons. Whilst it’s impossible to eliminate cyber threats, implementing the right strategy, education and services covering both information and operational assets will dramatically reduce the risk of a breach, and the associated operational and safety risk as well as reputational and financial impacts. No business can make itself impregnable. What it can do, however, is seek to temper any attack on its critical business drivers by creating a scalable security posture.”

Tom Chant from the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI), the co-organiser of the event, said: “With the growth of the digital sector the SMI has created a Digital Technology Group to support this type of activity for the sector. I’m delighted that we were able to pull this event together in close co-operation with the Department for International Trade team in Athens whose connections made the event possible.”

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