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USCG guides operators on addressing cyber threats

Safety4Sea, July 2017 
July 14th 2017
Safety4Sea, July 2017
Cyber security is fast becoming an issue of note in America where the USCG is taking the lead to challenge the threats. Read the online article here.

The US Coast Guard has made available a draft Navigation and Inspection Circular, asking ship operators to assess their vulnerabilities to cyber attacks and providing additional recommendations to reduce cyber risk to maritime facilities. As highlighted in the USCG Cyber Strategy, cyber security is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges in the US.

The maritime industry continues to increase use of cyber technology. Facility operators use computers and cyber dependent technologies for communications, engineering, cargo control, environmental control, access control, passenger and cargo screening, and many other purposes. Facility safety and security systems, such as security monitoring, fire detection, and general alarm installations increasingly rely on computers and networks.

“While these computer and network systems create benefits, they are inherently vulnerable and could introduce new vulnerabilities. Exploitation, misuse, or simple failure of cyber systems can cause injury or death, harm the marine environment, disrupt vital trade activity, and degrade the ability to respond to other emergencies”, USCG notes.

However, the marine industry disposes many resources, technical standards, and recommended practices to monitor cyber risks. Facility operators should use those resources to promote a culture of effective and proactive cyber risk management.

“The purpose of this draft NVIC is to begin to lay out a series of policies and procedures to mitigate these risks while ensuring the continued operational capability of the nation’s MTS”, explained USCG.

The circular comes after the Petya cyber attack that hit the giant containership company Maersk, in late June, and affected port operations around the globe.