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Port-IT launches new vessel cyber security package

Maritime technology company Port-IT has announced that it has developed a new vessel security package called Port-IT Vanir, created in collaboration with WatchGuard to offer remotely-managed UTM (Unified Threat Management) for various aspects of ship cyber security.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}As part of the service, all computers in the network will be protected by a custom implementation of ESET’s endpoint security software, with signatures updated daily and synced between shore and vessel using Port-IT’s own purpose-built software.

The Port-IT Vanir package also includes additional security options beyond traditional antivirus implementation, such as a firewall and botnet protection, and integrates WatchGuard services for multi engine detection incorporating data from network security vendors such as Kaspersky, Bitdefender, Websense and Lastline.

“WatchGuard Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances are designed from the ground up to focus on ease of deployment, use, and ongoing management, in addition to providing the strongest security possible,” said Martijn Nielen at WatchGuard.

“Our unique approach to network security focuses on bringing best-in-class, enterprise-grade security to any organisation, regardless of size or technical expertise. This makes it ideal for tackling the unique security challenges faced by maritime vessels.”

The Vanir service will be monitored from Port-IT’s new Security Operating Centre, located at a separate location to the Port-IT office at an ISO-certified remote facility, with features such as redundant power and multiple internet connections via various providers. The centre is physically secured by biometric recognition features and 24/7 gate security.

Port-IT will also provide continuous network security monitoring under the package, and generate reports describing the status of the PCs on board and the network infrastructure which can be analysed for security threats – for example, if the engine control room PC is constantly trying to access a forbidden website Port-IT Vanir will be able to block that traffic, and the system can monitor crew internet usage and decrease the bandwidth available to crew to prioritise vessel critical communications.

“The increasing demand for maritime vessel connectivity is set to continue and as such there is a clear and immediate need for an enterprise solution,” said Youri Hart, managing director at Port-IT.

“Budgets in shipping are still very strict and I am a big advocate of the slogan ‘if you can’t afford to protect it, you should not connect it’. This is why we have created Port-IT Vanir. To ensure vessels can be both connected and protected at an affordable price.”{/mprestriction}

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  • Changes to cybersecurity insurance

    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.”

    During the period of growth, many cyber insurers retained 60 per cent on every dollar paid in premiums. Security frameworks, policies and procedures of clients were often not thoroughly examined. Their level of cybersecurity awareness was largely overlooked. Carolan foresees a huge change in this:

    “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:

    • Premiums will be far higher
    • Coverage will shrink
    • There will be fewer outs
    • There will be limited options
    • Stronger requirements will be enforced

    Carolan points out the ransomware attempts at cyber insurance companies as being key. “Cyber-criminals can uncover how much ransom they could demand from potential targets. They can find this information directly or through the cybersecurity insurance companies they use. It is vital then to protect cybersecurity policies. I would say you should remove them altogether from areas where they could be found.”

    There have been cases where insurance companies have stated they will not pay any ransoms. Subsequently, they have been the victims of attacks. It is clear then that the industry is in a vulnerable position right now.

    Top Tip #2: Conduct vulnerability scans before opting for insurance

    As stated previously, requirements for insurance are (understandably) becoming more stringent. Some companies are even implementing external vulnerability scans themselves. It makes sense then to carry out a scan beforehand, and CRIBB can help.

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

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    Seably has launched a dedicated and comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training course for the maritime sector in collaboration with marine insurance providers Alandia and maritime cybersecurity specialists Deductive Labs.

  • University of Plymouth recognised for work on maritime cybersecurity

    The University of Plymouth has been recognised for its work in developing software to protect the maritime industry against cybercrime. 

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  • OceanShield raises $800,000 to stop maritime cyber attacks

    Cybersecurity innovator OceanShield has announced a US $800,000 funding round from seed investment company Masik Enterprise, several angel investors, and grant funding. The company launched in 2020, building on extensive experience with industrial control systems protection and two years of lab research and trials spearheaded by co-founder and CTO, Dr. Dmitry Mikhaylov.

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