Maritime cyber virus alert

The University of Plymouth is working with partners across Europe on a €7 million project aimed at enhancing cyber preparedness within the global maritime sector.

Cyber-MAR, funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, combines the expertise of 13 science and industry partners from eight countries.

Over the next three years, it aims to develop greater awareness of the cyber threats facing the global shipping fleet and the most effective ways of countering them.

The University is the sole UK partner on the three-year project, and is receiving almost €650,000 of the total funding. Its participation is being coordinated through the Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group, which draws together world-leading experts in computer science, maritime law, shipping and psychology.

During the project, University researchers will lead the development of a global maritime cyber risk model based around real data relating to attacks and potential attackers.

They will also contribute to a number of other work packages within the project, in particular testing elements of the research through outstanding facilities including the Marine Navigation Centre.

The University will then aim to present the findings at regional and national conferences and events, potentially including Marine Tech Expo 2020 and InfoSec 2021.

Training and awareness outcomes from the project will also be integrated into academic programmes including BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science and the MA in Applied Strategy and International Security, which is delivered in partnership with NATO.

Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, is leading the University’s involvement in Cyber-MAR and acting as the overall project’s Quality Manager. He said:

“Advances in shipping technology, and the greater sophistication being used by attackers, mean this project is extremely timely. It will enable us to work with other researchers and industry partners to develop and test cutting edge solutions that can be used by the global maritime sector to protect infrastructure and guard against current and future threats. It will also mean the partners can create training programmes that prepare future workforces for the threats they might encounter and how to tackle them.

“Cyber-MAR provides an outstanding opportunity to put our world-leading research and teaching, and the facilities we have here in Plymouth, in the global spotlight.”

Cyber-MAR is being coordinated by the Institute of Communication & Computer Systems (ICCS), which is based in Athens, Greece.

Its ultimate aim is to fully unlock the value of using cyber range in maritime logistics through the development of an innovative simulation environment which adapts to the peculiarities of the maritime sector. It will incorporate a range of innovative technologies and is also intended to be applicable in other transport subsectors.

This will mean those working in the maritime logistics sector can increase their cyber-awareness, and minimise the potential for business disruption and use the findings to provide training solutions for their workforces.

Ship's Helm

The Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group

The group has been formed to bring together leading-edge multidisciplinary research and practical expertise in the core areas of cyber-security and maritime operations together with psychology researchers, and maritime law and policy experts

For more about the group, visit their dedicated web page

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