News Risk Management09 May 2018

Singapore:Maritime sector steps up measures to boost cybersecurity

09 May 2018

The Singapore government has been working closely with the industry on a slew of initiatives to strengthen maritime cybersecurity, said Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore chairman Niam Chiang Meng at a recent seminar on the subject.

Highlighting that maritime cybersecurity is a “collective responsibility” that must be shared by MPA and the maritime community, Mr Niam said the measures include establishing information sharing networks, organising engagement sessions and conducting regular cyber security exercises. 

On the domestic front, MPA is already the appointed maritime sector lead to ensure the protection of maritime critical infrastructure as well as to investigate any cyber security threats and incidents. 

Two additional steps that Mr Niam highlighted which will be introduced to further strengthen the sector’s readiness are the establishment of a 24/7 Maritime Cybersecurity Operation Centre by the third quarter of this year, which improve early detection, monitoring, analysis and response to potential cyber attacks and the boosting of talent in the sector.

MPA has started working with institutes of higher learning on training programmes, such as a Maritime Cybersecurity Research programme which will have a dedicated focus on the protection of maritime cyber-physical systems—which include smart power grids, autonomous automobile systems, process control and robotics systems, and automatic pilot avionic, and a cybersecurity awareness course for existing staff of shipping companies.

On the international front, Mr Niam highlighted the need to collaborate create cyber defence networks within the international maritime community.

“MPA has taken the initiative to start a Port Authorities Roundtable Cyber Security Correspondence Group to facilitate early detection of cyber risks through information sharing,” he said. MPA is also a member of chainPORT, a multilateral alliance and network between seaports.

The networks have helped in cases like the worldwide WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks last year, where Singapore received early warnings from Port of Barcelona and Port of Rotterdam which gave it lead time to alert necessary parties to heighten their cyber security posture and to take necessary mitigation measures to contain the attacks.

Finally, the MPA will also be working with Singapore Shipping Association to establish the Singapore Maritime Focal Point Correspondence Group on Cybersecurity. This would serve as a platform for maritime companies to share relevant news, security alerts and best practices to help them enhance their cyber protection efforts.

Mr Niam was speaking at the second Maritime Cyber Security Seminar jointly organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Shipping Association in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week 2018. In line with the maritime industry’s digital transformation, the focus of this year’s seminar revolved around the theme of ‘Shaping the Future of a Cyber-smart Maritime Industry’. 

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