Navigation of the ships is the most concerning aspect of Maritime Cyber Security. The electronic navigation system is a mandatory aspect in monitoring the movement of ships in the sea. The flow of ships is trucked through the Global Positioning Systems which is at high risk of attacks. The GPS transmits a large number of relevant information is very crucial and do not require the identity of verification. The information that sent is highly relied on. Navigation systems are interconnected and mainly found on land for communication. For example in 2004 US port suffered a severe seven-hour GPS signal disruptions that brought the operation to a halt. GPS commonly relies on the signals which can be weak or strong. Weak signals hinder the activities (Connell and Ellen 209).
The GPS is a critical and crucial aspect of navigation on board ships and also for tracking the position or whereabouts of the ships as they move in the sea. Hackers can, therefore, interfere with the GPS signals holding a ship in hostage. GPS jamming could be used in this case and especially by pirates to divert the ship and to lead to its disappearance.
This aspect is the most of the issue of concern, and there is a requirement of incorporating a free and highly precise signal to facilitate the tracking of the ships.
A concern that was raised by an expert Giles Noakes pointed out very crucial issues of maritime cyber-attacks; he pointed out that of what could happen if ECDIS and the positioning systems went down due to attacks. It is not easy for the pilot to notice if something has changed especially in the middle of the sea. In that case, the pilot could change the direction hence leading to the collision. Most people fear the disruption of the signals with the highest number of response showing that it is a big threat to shipping companies (Christian 164).
What type of cyber events would have a significant impact on the day to day operation of a port? Think of what a massive denial of service attack would do.
Various cyber events could have an impact in the day to day operation of the port. These are the use of the Global Positioning system on cranes to move the containers from one point to another. Most companies are currently using the technology to monitor the movement and position of the containers in the port. The system can be attacked there halting the free movement. The GPS provides real-time information on their positions, the position of the containers which they are supposed to move and also the final point where the container will be moved. It is, therefore, a concern on the day to day operation of the port (Connell and Ellen 209).
The digitization infrastructures in the port. Most of the port infrastructures are digitised and therefore posing risks to cyber-attacks through the interconnections between port and port information. Currently, a wide range of systems are interconnected making them risky to severe attack. Introduction of malware in the system corrupting them leading to loss of relevant information. For example, the malware that occurred in 2012 that took about three-quarters of Saudi Aramco’s files on many computers (Christian 164).
Massive denial of service attack would increase the cyber-attack on the ships and infrastructures. The hackers will take advantage of the denial and therefore introduce malware in the system leading to the corrupt of information. The unprotection and unmonitored systems could lead to massive loss of valuable information through attacks. It could lead to the loss of ships and collisions in the sea due to change in direction.
- Bueger, Christian. “What is maritime security?.” Marine Policy53 (2015): 159-164.
- Collins, Alan. Contemporary security studies. Oxford University Press, 2016.
- McNicholas, Michael. Maritime security: an introduction. Butterworth-Heinemann, 2016.
- O’Connell, Mary Ellen. “Cyber security without cyber war.” Journal of Conflict and Security Law 17.2 (2012): 187-209.