Local research needed into marine cyber security
There needs to be more local research into marine cybersecurity, says South African International Maritime Institute chief executive officer Prof Malek Pourzanjani.
“The very real dangers of cyber-attacks on the maritime industry were demonstrated in June this year when operations in 17 port terminals operated by Maersk around the world were affected by malware,” he says.
Information technology experts have been warning for some time that the shipping and related industries will be the target of cyber-attacks.
“In marine parlance we have the perfect storm – the trend is towards increased digitisation of vessels and communications. With 90% of all freight being transported by sea at one point or another, the maritime industry is a natural target for well-financed international cyber-criminal gangs.
“South African ports and the supporting landside logistics networks need to be protected against these threats, as do the many vessels operating out of our harbours.
“Solutions developed for South Africa could be more suited to other African countries than those developed for industrialised nations.
“Or we can even take the lead in a specific maritime cybersecurity sector.
“But, that starts with research to identify the threats,” he says.
SAIMI facilitates research into all maritime-related sectors and sectors.
“We are keen to help masters and PhD students obtain funding and the support they need for research into maritime cybersecurity,” he says.