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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Research study identifies cyber threats to maritime operations

16 February, 2015
Studies by Lancaster University show that work needs to be done to prevent significant risks to Britain's military maritime operations due to cyber threats

The report from Lancaster University's researchers, "The Future of Maritime Cyber Security", explains that Britain’s aircraft carriers and warships are at risk due to their reliance on ageing software.  It warns that the Royal Navy and its international allies need to “fundamentally rethink” how they use technology on warships, as the software being used has a far shorter lifespan than the ships and aircraft carriers themselves.   As such, new cyber defence strategies need to be implemented and Navy personnel trained in how to be secure online.

Commenting on the far reaching consequences and havoc created by an attack on Britain's Navy, cyber-security expert LogRhythm's Ross Brewer talked about the different challenges which appear when fighting a cyber-enemy in contrast to a physical threat and the need for the defence forces to equip themselves for such challenges.

“The researchers from Lancaster are quite right to point out that the armed forces’ aircraft and warships are built to last, while the software is not. However, all software is effectively under threat as soon as it is deployed, and understanding that is key for every organisation – armed forces or otherwise", he told us.

The answer, however, isn't just a simple solution of installing the latest software and allow it to perform its duties. Rather it is a constant long term strategic process that begins now and continues without interruption.

Ross Brewer explains, “The solution is not necessarily to constantly deploy new software to combat the risk – that just leads to a tedious game of cat and mouse.  Instead, it is imperative to constantly monitor the network for unusual activity in order to identify suspicious behaviour as quickly as possible.  The Navy is no stranger to intelligence – the more information you have, the better position you are in to defend yourself – and it is no different when it comes to cyber security.  For all of us, it is a case of when, not if, an attack takes place, but with the right security intelligence measures in place, the risk can be minimised.”

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