Kevin is Professor of Computing Science and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and his research is helping to transform the way global shipping fleets manage cyber security.

Charting a course for greater maritime security 

As Director of the Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group, he is currently investigating some of the most pressing technological the threats posed to global shipping at all levels from theory through to practice. With 95% of all goods coming into the UK by ship, and our maritime industry contributing £40 billion to GDP per annum, the group’s research offers a unique blend interdisciplinary research and practical expertise in cyber security, maritime law and economics, navigation, psychology and marine commercialisation. 

Kevin is playing an integral part in the recently formed Cyber-MAR network, a €7million European network which aims to enhance cyber preparedness across the maritime sector. 

Pioneering facilities 

It will make use of the University’s state-of-the-art facilities to research and overcome the potential threats, including a fully-functioning ship simulator in the University’s Marine Navigation Centre and a forthcoming global first – the first Cyber-SHIP Lab dedicated to testing and safeguarding actual maritime systems. Together these facilities will provide insights into both technical and human factor mitigation required, leading to new policy development and advanced mariner training in relation to maritime cyber threat. 

Under Kevin’s leadership the group has published widely on the security challenges facing the maritime sector, developed partnerships with businesses and in 2018 was the only UK representative at the US Coast Guard panels on Maritime Cyber Security.

In an increasingly connected and technologically dependent world, new areas of vulnerability are emerging. However, this dependency increases the vessel’s presence in the cyber domain, increasing its chances of being targeted and offering new vectors for such attacks. Longer term, there needs to be a fundamentally different approach to security of the entire maritime infrastructure meaning there is great need for specific cyber security research programmes focused on the maritime sector.

Professor Kevin Jones