导航

Forum

« 返回

Cyber threat to ships – real but manageable

组合视图 统一视图 树状图
讨论主题 [ 上一个 | 下一个 ]


The Information Age has brought enormous benefits. But progress typically brings new problems, and our dependence on computers raises the threat of hacking. This has led to the development of a body of technological processes and practices known as cyber security. Cyber security protects networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. 

Vessels have also started to increasingly depend on information technology (IT), taking solutions that offer high functionality at moderate cost out of the office environment. This means we must also take cyber security in the marine sector seriously. EU and US government reports on security in the shipping and transport sectors confirm this view. 

Cyber security is much more than a simple technical fix that solves all problems, as it is sometimes portrayed in the media. It is just as much a question of culture and attitude as it is technology. The best encryption algorithms in the world are useless if someone writes the password on a Post-it note and leaves the door open. Security must be in focus during the product design, planning and engineering of a vessel, as well as during the commissioning of the IT equipment and operation of the ship.

Cyber-threat proof solutions 

Even if the yard and the ship owner carry final responsibility, ABB takes security very seriously. We provide products and solutions that have been developed with security in mind and that, used correctly, provide a vessel with good protection against cyber threats. ABB can also evaluate the security level of a fleet to ensure it is cyber-threat proof.

ABB also takes security into account during product development. Internal R&D processes have a checklist of questions on security, ABB has a dedicated robust- ness test center at its research center in Bangalore and the main systems have been tested at US cyber security laboratories. ABB also has processes in place to handle new security issues that may arise.

One central concern when delivering electrical propulsion systems, electrical generation and protection equipment, and automation and advisory solutions is how all these are connected in a network architecture and how the network is connected with other systems on the ship and on land. The key word here is defense-in-depth, with security zones in place. Defense-in-depth refers to multiple, independent and redundant layers to compensate for potential human and mechanical failures so that no single layer, no matter how robust, is exclusively relied upon. 

Traditionally the different technical solutions have not been connected together in a proper computer network; this has been used to argue that cyber security is not relevant to vessels. This is only partially true. In a disconnected system, there is no risk of a problem occurring during normal operations. 

However, typically these systems will occasionally be connected to a maintenance computer, a USB stick or a modem. In these instances, the system is as vulnerable as a connected system. And if a security culture and measures are not in place, malicious code could end up disrupting the system. A better approach is to accept that security measures always have to be in place and take advantage of the increased functionality a connected system provides then take the effort to design good network architectures.