Is Your Shipping Company Prepared for a Cyber Attack?

Is Your Shipping Company Prepared for a Cyber Attack?

When your product moves across road, rail, sea, or air, it’s part of a global network that generates more
than a trillion dollars and moves billions of tons of material every year. It’s no wonder that a country’s
transportation system is considered its lifeline.


We’ve seen recently how severe weather can cripple a nation’s transportation system. But hurricanes and
other natural disasters are just one threat to this vital, international network. A larger threat looms largely
unseen: cyber-attacks.


Cyber-Attacks: The Most Ignored Threat to Our Transportation System.

Adopting technologies to improve transportation efficiency and safety is definitely a step in the right
direction. But with more than trillion dollars and billions of tons of goods at risk, it is very surprising that
just 12 percent of maritime transportation crews worldwide have received any cybersecurity training. Just
half of ship crews receive guidelines on how or when to use ship technology for personal use.


Former FBI director Robert Mueller once said, “I am convinced that there are only two types of
companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be.” The lack of training and guidelines on
cyber security leaves the transportation industry open to cyber-attack across all modalities.


Points of Progress in Transportation Cyber security


Fortunately, some companies and international ports are starting to understand the necessity of
protecting their systems from cyber-attack. In the United States, the American Association of Port
Authorities is working with the US Coast Guard to develop cyber security protocols that keep the ports
productive and secure. Internationally, shipping companies have started to implement a variety of
cyber security products to reduce hacks and even terrorism directed at their vessels.


More recently, a consortium of international shipping companies released the second edition of “The
Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships” to help companies create and implement cyber security
protocols. In the United States, Senator Edward Markey (D–Mass.) introduced a bill that would require the
Federal Aviation Administration to develop cybersecurity guidelines for airlines.


There is still much to be done to improve the defenses of the shipping industry against cyber-attack.
Before you choose your next shipping company, ask about their cybersecurity protocols. If you get a
blank look or pregnant pause, consider working with a different company. Contact Total Export at 612-788-9777 today.

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