Wed | Sep 30, 2020

ADVANTUM helping to protect regional shipping from cyberattacks

Published:Tuesday | August 4, 2020 | 12:10 AM

A recent article appearing in the online newsletter Offshore Energy states that “cyberattacks on the maritime industry’s operational technology systems have increased by 900 per cent over the last three years”. The increase in cyberattacks worldwide cannot be ignored by shipping interests in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and it is therefore good to know that ADVANTUM, the ICT applications partner for all stakeholders in the Caribbean shipping industry, is providing the support necessary to protect local and regional companies and organisations.

Kay Wilson Kelly, ADVANTUM’s operations manager/project lead, explains that there is an eight-point approach to cybersecurity that consists of the following:

1. Establish network perimeter defences. This includes implementing effective firewall policies to detect and prevent against unwarranted access to and from the network. Web and content filtering should only allow access to the internal network through a VPN tunnel.

2. Ensure web-facing applications are secure and implement strong password policy, where necessary (e.g., two-way authentication).

3. Patch management. Patch known vulnerabilities with the latest version of the software to prevent attacks which exploit software bugs.

4. Use of anti-malware and antivirus solutions.

5. Security monitoring. Hardware/software applications to identify any unexpected or suspicious activity.

6. Backup. Ensure critical data are regularly backed up in an effective manner and retrievable form for ease of restoration should a disaster occur.

7. User training and awareness. Educate users on the risk associated with using unsecured networks to access company data and avoiding unsecured websites. Alert employees to the various techniques that cybercriminals use and build an awareness of these risks into their corporate culture.

8. Implement a security incident management plan. This plan will outline how to mitigate against an attack and, also, how to deal with one.

Reported Hacks

The Offshore Energy article, written by Jasmina Ovcina, reports that, in addressing port and terminal operators during an online forum last week, Robert Rizika, Naval Dome’s Boston-based head of North American operations, explained that in 2017 there were 50 significant OT [operations technology] hacks reported, increasing to 120 in 2018 and more than 310 last year. He said this year is looking like it will end with more than 500 major cybersecurity breaches, with substantially more going unreported.

Rizika warned that “many operators are not even aware that they are being attacked,” stressing that they need to start to work on prevention before it is too late, “especially since the risk of attacks and their frequency rise”.

In this scenario, ADVANTUM is strategically positioned to offer cybersecurity protection to clients and their state-of-the-science applications have been developed specifically for their partners in the shipping industry.

ADVANTUM’s port, freight, eLabour, equipment management, guard route tracking, and motor vehicle management systems meet or exceed the highest industry standards worldwide. Also, clients have described ADVANTUM Financials as “a money-saving and moneymaking application that is easily adaptable”.

“The ADVANTUM vision is futuristic and client-focused,” says Wilson Kelly, who adds that these new business applications are supported by speedy responsiveness and unparalleled service delivery. She states: “ADVANTUM applications are custom-built to clients’ specific requirements, while offering on-call service and the most thorough on-site pretesting of business solutions that satisfy our customers’ needs.”