MaCRA

  • Per-voyage and fleet-specific cyber threat profiling solution
  • Addresses vast range of on-board IT and operational technology, routes and cargo
  • Leverages unique real ships IT and OT vulnerabilities data from Cyber-SHIP Lab
  • Dynamically correlates each voyage’s unique cyber risk signature with attacker motivations

MaCRA, Maritime Cyber Risk Assessment framework, is a unique solution to identify dynamic, vessel, cargo and route-specific cyber-risks. It enables international shipping operators and insurers to rapidly assess individual ship’s or entire fleets’ unique cyber risk profiles.

The University of Plymouth Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group has developed MaCRA as Cyber threat preparedness tops the maritime industry agenda. From January 2021, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) required ship operators systematically to address cyber security.

MaCRA’s adaptive risk assessment ability is built around the insight that shipping’s myriad cyber risks are amenable to predictive modelling and mitigation through systematic analysis of vessel-type, on-board IT and operational technology systems, route and cargo variables. MaCRA dynamically correlates each voyage and fleet’s cyber risk signature with probable attacker motivations.

MaCRA is an industrial-strength software as a service solution accessible via handheld and desktop applications. Various threat and risk assessment services and dashboards will be available for single ship or entire fleet profiling. The system is underpinned by peer-reviewed research findings from the University of Plymouth Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group published in the WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs in 2019.

International shipping is vital to world economic wellbeing. However, individual vessels can be in service for 30 years or more with legacy on-board IT and OT systems potentially vulnerable to modern cyber attack, while accelerating maritime industry digitalisation presents cyber attackers wit plentiful sabotage opportunities.

Translation of MaCRA research into a commercial cyber security solution began with MarRI-UK research initiative funding to address the urgent need to secure maritime supply chains from burgeoning cyber security threats.

MaCRA research informs the Cyber-MAR project, a European Union-funded initiative developing a maritime sector-specific cybersecurity simulation environment. In January 2021, the University of Plymouth Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group’s new and unique hardware-based Cyber-SHIP Lab began providing MaCRA with real ships’ systems cyber vulnerabilities data.

The MaCRA team

  • Dr Kimberly Tam – co-author of MaCRA and Academic lead. Worked in industry (Hewlett Packard) and USA government labs (Sandia and MIT Lincoln Lab). 
  • Professor Kevin Jones - 20 years’ Silicon Valley experience in executive and technical roles; instrumental in raising more than $20M in start-up environments.

  • Kevin Forshaw – more than 25 years maritime engagement experience in Academia leading to the Research England supported £3.2m investment in the University’s Cyber-SHIP Laboratory.
  • Software development team members


Our people

Senior Software Engineer/Programmer

The University of Plymouth has secured external funding for the development of Software Tooling for a globally unique framework called Maritime Cyber Risk Assessment (MaCRA) that will help mitigate the risk of the growing problem of Cyber-attacks to shipping.

This is an exciting opportunity to work with a top team to shape the development that will have a major impact on the maritime sector, safeguarding operations and improving safety in the sector.

More about this Senior Software Engineer/Programmer role