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Tom MacSweeney’s Weekly Maritime Blog – August 28


This weekend I’m delving into the issues of maritime security for the next edition of the MARITIME IRELAND RADIO SHOW. This will begin broadcasting on Monday, AUGUST 30 and one of the major topics will be the possible dangers for the maritime industry of cyber attacks. I’ll be talking to Kieran Caulfield, an expert on maritime cyber security. This comes about after he contacted me to speak about his concerns for what might happen in the future.

Kieran is Enterprise Director at the Irish-based cyber security company, Renaissance. He’s also an offshore sailor, sea angler an RNLI lifeboat volunteer and has been involved all his life with the sea. The maritime industry has already seen cyber security incidents, so this threat is very real he says:

“The Maritime industry is a global interconnected infrastructure critical to commerce in just about every corner of the world. Ireland, as an island nation, is dependent upon the maritime sector for 90% of imports and exports. The sector has multiple interdependencies,” he wrote to me when we first made contact. “Producers/manufacturing, shipping companies, cargo carriers, and ports, navigational aids, logistics companies such as haulage and rail and then the retailers, are all fundamental to the success of the sector. In the past the greatest threats have been recession, fuel costs, or industrial unrest, but in today’s world, the increasingly stark threat is that of cyber-attack in its very many forms.

“The sector is undergoing a massive digital transformation, seeing a dramatic move from legacy systems running independent Operational Technology (OT), to frameworks that are becoming increasingly automated, intricate and interconnected to both onboard and shoreside management systems and OT assets. Unfortunately, the move to modernise does not necessarily mitigate the risks associated with cyber-attacks and in some ways it actually increases the risk. In many cases the sector is still unprepared and unable to mitigate cyber security risks but solutions and expertise are available to assist with developing a sustainable maritime cyber security strategy.

Modern shipping, the ports they use, the electronics, the navigation systems and their safety and, particualrly the developing offshore energy and renewable industrym could all be targets, Kieran suggested.

In the wake of what we’ll all remember about the attack on the HSE I was very interested in what he put forward. It should make for a very interestingi nterview, bearing in mind that companies like Maersk, the bigegst container shipping organisation in the world, was one which experienced an attack some months ago.

There will be a lot more on the programme, ranging from what I wrote about last week in the restoration of old, tradiitonal boats – and you can hear why Glaway people in the Claddagh are “ordinary, extraordianry people” and we’ll hear about the difficulties of the offshore islands fishermen and how hard it is provingt o get young people into the industry. If they don’t get invovled the future of fishing could be challenging. And we’ll also have a lot of news about the angling world.

Finally, a photo, which was posted by the Ilen Marine School in Limerick, which they described as being the cosy cabin of Waxwing, the yacht of Peter Lawless who left last Saturday from Kilrush on his solo voyage around the world. Fair sailing Peter

Tom MacSweeney

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