North P&I Club has joined a collaboration between shipping industry leaders, including BIMCO, DNV GL and the Marshall Islands Registry, to combat cyber criminals by committing to the CSO Alliance’s global information and reporting platform for digital attacks.

Cybercrime is a rapidly growing global threat in all industries and shipping is not immune. Digital risks have industry-wide implications, and strength in numbers is the best defence against a threat that is dynamic, rapidly evolving, and multiplies when a weakness is identified.

The new information and reporting platform will provide best practice operational procedures, advice on handling incidents, and real time information on cyber and other crime. A confidential forum will also allow communication between members to exchange knowledge and share actionable advice on dealing with specific threats. The website will also provide an anonymous reporting platform which is currently under development. This feature is specifically designed to eliminate worry about consequences to firms’ reputations, while enriching data sets on the types and evolution of threats and enabling rapid alerts on emerging risks to the entire industry.

According to Colin Gillespie, Deputy Director (Loss Prevention) North P&I, reporting and sharing information is key to understanding the issues and then tackling them with prudent behaviour. “A maritime cyber-crime reporting portal can help cyber-attacks to be identified early and hinder their propagation by alerting users to their presence. Sharing cyber security information will require a move away from shipping’s traditional preference for privacy but the question is ‘Can the industry afford not to share?’”

The CSO Alliance is a global, members-only risk management vehicle for all shipping sectors to drive best practice to combat maritime crime through a community, including leading military sources, to exchange ideas and information. Designed by CSOs for CSOs (Company Security Officers) it takes the valuable human interactions that occur when CSOs meet and embeds them in a secure online platform that is available to members 24/7/365.

Threats can come from activists, hackers, criminals, terrorists and governments as well as disgruntled employees. On board vulnerabilities include ECDIS (electronic chart display and information systems) and GPS (global positioning system)as well as engine and cargo control systems.

Gillespie further added, “We need to work together with CSO Alliance and its members towards its goal of ‘Security through community.’ The launch of the Cyber Alliance is a welcome and timely development that complements the CSO Alliance.”

He continued, “Cyber attacks are growing exponentially. To counter the threat we encourage our members to prioritise cyber protection and to operate sensible and properly managed cyber security policies procedures and systems both in in their offices and on ships. To support its members, North has partnered with CSO Alliance to deliver a reduced price membership fee that allows them access to security related information sharing, and to combine all their ideas and experiences for the benefit of all.”