Shipping sector security awareness 'low to non-existent'

News 20 Dec, 2011

ENISA urges EU member states to improve security awareness in the maritime sector.

The European maritime sector has next to no idea about cyber security, according to a report released by the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

The shipping industry, which carried 52 per cent of goods traffic in 2010, has "currently low to non-existent" awareness of cyber security needs and challenges, the report said.

This overall low awareness represents a concern as there is an increased dependency on ICT of all key players.

ENISA claimed the lack of understanding was evident at every layer of the industry, from government bodies to port authorities and maritime companies.

"This overall low awareness represents a concern as there is an increased dependency on ICT of all key players, processes and activities within the maritime sector," the report continued.

"Indicators of this dependency are the increasing number of ICT systems implementations in ports worldwide, and the continuous increase of volume and complexity of information and data exchanged."

ENISA considered the maritime sector to be one of Europe's critical infrastructure industries, saying the continent was " critically dependent" on the movement of cargo and passengers over sea.

Given critical infrastructure is a key target for cyber criminals, the body recommended European nations to boost awareness

"Member States should consider developing and implementing awareness raising campaigns targeting the maritime actors. In particular the provision of appropriate cyber security training to relevant actors (e.g. shipping companies, port authorities, etc.) would be highly recommended," ENISA's report read.

"Such awareness campaigns and training initiatives should target all relevant actors involved in the maritime sector, while their provision could be coordinated by relevant cyber security organisations."