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Does Digital Transformation Lead to Increased Risks of Cyber Attacks?




In response to global digitalization, ports and the maritime industry have experienced a digital transformation in recent years. This shift has enabled ports to be competitive, comply with regulations, and maximize efficiency. While this transformation has led to many benefits for the shipping industry, it has also raised a number of new cybersecurity risks in the areas of both information technology and operational technology. Amidst this changing landscape, cybersecurity has become increasingly important and should be a priority for those in the industry.


The Primary Cybersecurity Risks


To respond to these threats, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) recently released a report raising awareness about cybersecurity risks and providing best practices to address them. The report, created in collaboration with some key EU ports, is intended to offer stakeholders a foundation upon which to build their cybersecurity plan.


The report outlines primary risks to cyber security in a few main categories including eavesdropping, interception, and hijacking; nefarious activity and abuse; physical attacks; unintentional damages; failures and malfunctions; outages; and disasters. It also notes that as ports aim to combat these risks, there are a number of obstacles and challenges that they face, including lack of a digital culture in the industry; lack of awareness regarding cyber security; limited cybersecurity budgets; and limited numbers of qualified individuals. Further, the complexity of the port “ecosystem” and the newness of the industry’s digital transformation makes it increasingly difficult to defend against these risks.


Best Practices to Defend Against Cyberattacks


To help ports build a cybersecurity plan, the report outlines in detail a few best practices to implement. These include establishing and enforcing clearly defined policies and regulations pertaining to IT and OT; designing comprehensive IT and OT systems and processes to be followed by all employees; and establishing and enforcing technical measures to help prevent, detect, react to, and recover from cyberattacks.


As the maritime industry continues to undergo a digital transformation, cybersecurity will be an essential part of staying competitive and relevant in the industry. At ClearFreight, our team understands the way that the shipping industry is developing and can help clients navigate this complex industry. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your business with all international freight logistics.

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