Cybersecurity guide for container shipping now online

The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) on Tuesday published a guide to help ocean carriers thwart cyberattacks.

The Amsterdam-based nonprofit said the guide is designed to facilitate vessel readiness to comply with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution MSC.428(98) on Maritime Cyber Risk Management in Safety Management Systems.

The DCSA said the guide gives shipowners the tools they need to mitigate the risk of cyberattack or contain damage and recover from an attack if one occurs.

DCSA CEO Thomas Bagge said cyber risk management is a must for the container shipping industry.

“Due to the global economic dependence on shipping and the complex interconnectedness of shipping logistics, cyberattacks such as malware, denial of service and system hacks can not only disrupt one carrier’s revenue stream, they can have a significant impact on the global economy,” Bagge said.

The IMO resolution, adopted in June 2017, states container shipping lines will “ensure that cyber risks are appropriately addressed in safety management systems” by Jan. 1, 2021. 

To meet that objective, shipping lines should assess risks to ships, personnel and the environment, establish safeguards and continuously improve the safety management skills of personnel on shore and aboard ships, according to the resolution.

Itai Sela, CEO of the security firm Naval Dome, said at the Singapore Maritime Technology Conference 2019 that the maritime industry should be on red alert but “is just not prepared.”

Sela said at that conference last April that the “maritime sector is being targeted by highly motivated cybercriminals.”

COSCO was the victim of a cyberattack in July 2018 and Maersk was hit hard in August 2017. That cyberattack is reported to have cost Maersk $350 million.

DCSA said it will conduct webinars in March to provide an overview of the cybersecurity implementation guide and collect feedback from industry stakeholders.

Major ocean carriers founded DCSA to digitize and standardize the container shipping industry. Its open source standards are developed based on input from member carriers, industry stakeholders and technology experts from other industries. DCSA member carriers are MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Evergreen, Yang Ming, HMM and ZIM.

DCSA launched its efforts last year after the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission gave its permission for the carriers to collaborate.