Survey: Maritime industry 'unprepared to shoulder' cybersecurity risks

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The following is text of a news release from Jones Walker LLP:

(NEW ORLEANS) — Jones Walker LLP on Wednesday publicly released the findings of its inaugural Maritime Cybersecurity Survey. The results, which were announced at the Marine Technology Society and IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society’s OCEANS conference, confirm that rapidly evolving technologies deployed throughout the U.S. maritime industry to increase efficiencies and competitiveness present significant cybersecurity risks, which the industry is unprepared to shoulder.

The survey reflects the responses of 126 senior executives, chief information and technology officers, non-executive security and compliance leaders, and key managers from U.S. maritime companies. The respondents represent key sectors in the maritime industry and include professionals from small, mid-size, and large companies.

Several key findings of the Jones Walker LLP Maritime Cybersecurity Survey include:

• The U.S. maritime industry is being targeted. Nearly 80 percent of large U.S. maritime industry companies (more than 400 employees), and 38 percent of all industry respondents reported that cyberattackers targeted their companies within the past year. Ten percent of survey respondents reported that the data breach was successful, while 28 percent reported a thwarted attempt.
• There is a false sense of preparedness in the U.S. maritime industry. Sixty-nine percent of respondents expressed confidence in the maritime industry's overall cybersecurity readiness, yet 64 percent indicated that their own companies are unprepared to handle the far-reaching business, financial, regulatory, and public relations consequences of a data breach.
• Small and mid-size companies are far less prepared than larger companies to respond to a cybersecurity breach. One hundred percent of respondents from large organizations indicated they are prepared to prevent a data breach, while only 6 percent of small company (one to 49 employees) respondents and 19 percent of mid-size company (50 to 400 employees) respondents indicated preparedness.
• Small and mid-size companies lack even the most fundamental protections, exposing them to huge potential losses. Ninety-two percent of small company and 69 percent of mid-size company respondents confirmed they have no cyberinsurance. In contrast, 97 percent of large company respondents have cyberinsurance coverage.

For additional survey findings, common themes among prepared companies, and guidance on how U.S. maritime companies can evaluate and improve their cyber-readiness, visit the Jones Walker LLP Maritime Cybersecurity website and download the whitepaper.

“The U.S. maritime industry is sailing too close to the wind when it comes to cybersecurity," said Andrew Lee, partner and co-chair of the Data Privacy Group and co-author of the Maritime Cybersecurity Survey whitepaper, Jones Walker LLP. "While industry stakeholders are educated and aware of the severe implications of a cyberattack, in many respects they are unprepared for the severe fallout from a major cyberattack. Hackers are modern-day pirates who have the ability to sink maritime industry sectors that are unprepared for what’s coming at them.”

“The results of Jones Walker’s cybersecurity survey demonstrate that every maritime industry stakeholder needs to assess its vulnerability to a cyberattack, take preventive action, and determine how it will respond,” said April Danos, director of information technology, Port Fourchon, La., and member of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee.

“It is critical for U.S. maritime to take heed of the growing cybersecurity threats against our global maritime industry," said retired Coast Guard Rear Adm. Joel Whitehead, president of the International Propeller Club. "The Jones Walker Maritime Cybersecurity Survey will provide important information to counter those threats.”

By Professional Mariner Staff