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Cyber Security: Protecting Your Yacht From Cyber Attacks

Cyber security

“Is your yacht’s cybersecurity plan up to date?” That is the question writers Miranda Blazeby, and Marilyn Mower ask in their article Revealed: What the IMO's new cybersecurity requirements mean for superyachts. Published on January 8, 2021, in Boat International magazine, the feature explains why the master or owner of a commercially registered (charter) yacht of 500 GT or more in or visiting a US Port might get a visit from the United States Coast Guard (USCG). 

The USCG began enforcing the “universal requirement for a cybersecurity plan from January 1, 2021, for all commercial yachts and ships over 500GT visiting US ports, regardless of flag.” This makes the United States the “first to announce it will get serious about cybersecurity within its waters.”

As stated in the Lloyds Register article Cybersecurity for superyacht sector now a top priority, “from 1 of January 2021, cybersecurity will come under the remit of the International Safety Management System (ISM) Code, supported by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution MSC.428(98), requiring shipowners and managers to assess cyber risk and implement relevant measures.”

This is all welcoming news when you consider an increase in cyberattacks against superyachts during the height of the pandemic. Cybercriminals are opportunists looking for vulnerabilities they can exploit for profit. While the emphasis in these articles is on superyachts, it does not mean smaller vessels won’t be a target. Hackers might not check the size before attacking. 

According to the Lloyds Register piece, “even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the frequency of known attacks in the maritime sector had risen by more than 40% in just one year, according to an early 2020 survey by BIMCO and Safety at Sea. However, since the start of the pandemic, cyber-crime generally has increased by more than 400%, according to some estimates.”

Read this 2018 article about how GPS cyberattacks threaten the global maritime industry. Today’s highly interconnected yachts are increasingly susceptible to cybercrime. 

So what is a superyacht owner to do? First and foremost, yacht owners need to be proactive.  The IMO provides a variety of easily accessible resources. Their GUIDELINES ON MARITIME CYBER RISK MANAGEMENT is an excellent place to start. 

Ready.gov also provides an extensive list of steps you can take to protect your vessel from an attack. 

Navigating the process to ensure you are protected can be challenging. However, Nauti-Tech is here to help you with all of your cybersecurity needs.