Security firm cites cyber risks with autonomous ships

The following is the text of a news release from ESC Global Security:

(LONDON) — ESC Global Security is set to warn the international shipping community attending this year’s London International Shipping Week (LISW) of the security risks associated with the development of the autonomous ship.

In paper titled "Phishing and Piracy on the Cyber Seas," to be presented during LISW Week at the Fathom-organized Ship Efficiency conference, ESCGS’s head of cybersecurity, Joseph Carson, will urge the industry to address the risk of a maritime cyberattack, which could leave the unmanned ship losing its ability to navigate or, in the worst case, be controlled by third parties for illicit purposes.

“New technologies, increasing automation and the inevitability of the autonomous ship will make shipping more efficient but such developments come with serious cyberthreats,” he warns. “Critical systems could be prevented from functioning, resulting in collision, pollution and environmental damage, and possibly the ship being redirected. Ship and cargo hijacking is a possibility. Certainly, the advancement in broadband technologies and the move toward ‘Big Data’ will leave the maritime industry vulnerable to cybercrime unless it develops a better awareness of ICT security and adopts security best practice.”

In his paper, to be presented on Sept. 9, the second day of the two-day Fathom conference, Carson will advise delegates of the advancements criminals and terrorists have made in computer phishing and virus technologies and advise on what the shipping companies can do to protect themselves and keep ships under their control.

To attend the conference, register at

By Professional Mariner Staff