Symposium aims to address global challenges facing maritime security

The greatest cyber security challenges facing the maritime and shipping industry will be examined during a one-day event at the University of Plymouth.

The inaugural Maritime Cyber Threats and Awareness Symposium will bring together leading researchers from the University with key figures from both maritime and cyber security industries.

They will discuss ways to increase global awareness of maritime cyber threats, as well as some of the present and future attacks and defences which could be employed.

Taking place on Friday 01 June, the symposium is being coordinated by the University’s Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group, with support from the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and Information Risk Management Ltd (an Altran UK company).

It will feature a keynote from Lord Arbuthnot, Chairman of the Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC) and a former member of the Government’s Intelligence and Security and National Security Strategy committees.

Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean of Science and Engineering at the University, said:

“Maritime-cyber threats are a growing concern as on-ship technology develops and becomes more intricately connected. As shipping infrastructure is essential to modern society, transporting 90 per cent of the world’s essential goods, the level of awareness for these types of risks must be increased. To achieve that, the collaboration of academia, industry and government is pivotal for creating far-reaching and long-lasting solutions.”

The University’s Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group draws together leading academics from a range of disciplines, including cyber security, maritime law and economics, navigation, psychology and marine commercialisation.

It has published research on the security challenges facing the maritime sector, and developed partnerships with businesses working in the field.

It also has state-of-the-art facilities to research and overcome the potential threats, including the Marine Navigation Centre (with a fully functioning ship simulator) and a dedicated security and digital forensics laboratory.

Professor Jones added:

“Plymouth has always been synonymous with innovation in the global maritime industry. And the capabilities we have in terms of our expertise, facilities and partnerships mean we are in the perfect place to continue that. Our hope is to make this symposium an annual and international event, which will identify both the key challenges and required solutions to keep the shipping industry secure now and in the future.”

Maritime Cyber Threats

The Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group brings together leading-edge multidisciplinary research and practical expertise from across the University. Current research interests include:

  • Vulnerability analysis for existing ship-based systems
  • Threat assessment for ship-based operations, including human decision making
  • Supply chain vulnerability for maritime operations
  • Process and training to decrease cyber attack vulnerability
  • Understanding psychological perceptions of, and responses to, risk and threat.

Bridge of a ship
Graduating students on Plymouth Hoe