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ABS awarded maritime cybersecurity research contract

ABS has been awarded a research contract by the Maritime Security Center (MSC) – a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence, led by the Stevens Institute of Technology – for a two-year research programme focused on defining the future of cybersecurity for the maritime industry.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}Study participants, which include DHS and the US Department of Defense, will focus on key areas that will help define future research and guidance, ABS says.

“Cybersecurity incursions and threats to the Marine Transportation System (MTS) and port facilities throughout the (United States) are increasing,” said Dr Hady Salloum, director of MSC.

“This research project will support the missions of the DHS Center of Excellence and the US Coast Guard to address these concerns and vulnerabilities and will identify policies and risk management strategies to bolster the cybersecurity posture of the MTS enterprise.”

The MSC-sponsored research project’s objectives include creating a better definition of risk-based performance standards, developing a maritime-specific framework for cyber policy, identifying critical points of cybersecurity failure, developing design requirements for a maritime cyber test-bed and investigating quantitative analysis tools to determine the effectiveness of cyber detection and deterrent strategies.

“Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing and evolving technical and operational challenges impacting the maritime industry today,” said ABS chief technology officer, Howard Fireman.

“Our goal with this research programme is to leverage the skills and expertise of leading thinkers to build a framework the industry can follow to contend with cyber challenges.”{/mprestriction}

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    In recent years there has been a marked increase in cyber-criminal activity. Put simply, as technology advances, so too do the skills of those seeking to exploit it. The growth of IoT provides ‘bad actors’ with more devices and connections to target, allowing them to become more sophisticated. These developments have contributed towards a huge uptake in cyber insurance in recent years. Now though, victims of ransomware attacks have begun to pay. Attacks and breaches now dominate the IT security news headlines. It stands to reason then that insurers must act, so here we look at changes to cybersecurity insurance in the wake of this rise in cyber-crime.

    Top Tip: Check your cybersecurity insurance policy today

    We would recommend a call to your broker, as the previous terms are almost certainly going to be different. Ask about new services too, and of course ensure that you have robust cybersecurity practices in place. This will be subject to higher levels of scrutiny moving forwards, and rightly so. 

    The cybersecurity insurance industry gathers momentum

    In line with the acceleration in cyber-crime, cyber insurance has experienced a fertile period. More policies than ever before have been issued, and the amounts of protection available have increased. In 2020, according to sources at Harvard Business Review, the first $1 billion cyber insurance programmes were launched. This is not difficult to imagine when you see the results of recent cybersecurity-related surveys. For example, the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2021 revealed a 50 per cent year-on-year increase in 2019 for cyber losses. It also revealed that businesses were devoting more resources to cybersecurity than ever. Further key findings are as follows:

    • 2020 saw more companies targeted by criminals than in the previous year
    • Of those suffering attacks in 2020, more than a quarter (28 per cent) were targeted over 5 times
    • The companies who took part revealed that they allocated 21 per cent of their IT budget to cybersecurity (this was up 63 per cent when compared to the previous year’s survey)
    • 59 per cent of businesses with 250+ employees felt more vulnerable to cyber-attacks since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Coronavirus has certainly had a huge impact on most, if not all sectors. Organisations the world over have lost vast sums of income, with many succumbing to their losses. It has subsequently made some view cyber insurance as a luxury. Yet there is another, far more critical issue to cybersecurity insurance that is ‘changing the playing field’.

    Ransomware and the cybersecurity insurance landscape

    Ransomware is perhaps the foremost cybersecurity threat. According to CRIBB Cyber Security’s Patrick Carolan, “it (ransomware) has achieved a lot of success in recent years. Ransoms were set at relatively low amounts and were largely ignored. Nowadays, I believe that the average is over $100,000. They are often paid now too, which means that insurance companies must adopt a more robust approach.”

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    “A lot of the people in cybersecurity insurance are leaving that area of the industry. Some are point-blank refusing to insure for ransomware. The ones that remain are therefore charging a lot more and insuring for less. They are also asking for a much higher level of proof of strong cybersecurity controls before issuing any policies.”

    The future of cybersecurity insurance

    It is difficult to predict exactly what lies in store for those seeking cybersecurity insurance. However, it does seem likely that:

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     This article has been republished with permission from CRIBB Cyber Security. Read the original article here.

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