Cyber Risks In The Shipping Industry

Over 90 percent of the world's trade is carried on ships. The shipping industry is essential for the global economy. It's also a prime target for cyber crime. Whether you work in the industry or are a consumer, understand the cyber risks in the shipping industry.


Pirates today still commandeer ships in person, but they also use technology to compromise a ship. They can access its Automatic Identification System (AIS), Electronic Chart Display or Information System (ECDIS) then plan and execute a theft or hold containers for a ransom.


Drug, contraband or other smugglers can access the information system of a ship, shipping company or port. With this control, they can alter shipping records or containers and hide contraband or identify which container holds contraband.


Cyber criminals are fraud experts. They can impersonate a company official, client or customer and gain access to sensitive information. They can also access a company's information system and introduce malware or ransomware, or they can divert, steal or alter shipments.

How to Combat Cyber Risks in the Shipping Industry

Maritime transport experts understand shipping and logistics, but they may not be IT experts. They will need training and professional assistance to navigate the cyber risks they face.

Take cyber risks seriously.

Greater reliance on technology and greater connectivity between industries increase cyber risks today. The shipping industry must take these risks seriously and plan for emerging threats and situations. Otherwise, they compromise their business, security and profitability. A cyber risk assessment gives companies personalized information on the specific cyber threats they face and then offers effective solutions.  

Improve protection and loss prevention measures.

Criminals usually target the victim with the most vulnerabilities. Improving security can make the company a less attractive target for cyber crime. It reduces security holes, protects information and establishes a protocol to deal with breaches.

Train employees.

As many as 51 percent of security breaches are performed by an insider in the company who may be vindictive or simply careless. In addition to a strict vetting process, companies can train employees to:

  • Handle data, including file disposal, properly.
  • Recognize fraudulent information requests or data breaches.
  • Protect key information with custody guidelines.
  • Perform strict digital monitoring.
Purchase Adequate Cyber Crime Insurance

Despite strict measures, some cyber risks cannot be prevented. Cyber crime insurance provides a layer of protection and decreases the adverse financial impact of a cyber crime.  

Secure the supply chain.

All suppliers and contractors should secure their information systems so it doesn't introduce malware or other cyber threats into connected systems.

Cyber risks related to shipping industry affect companies and consumers around the globe. Understanding the risks can improve security and protect the economy.
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