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Cyber Security: Protection for Yachts

26 Nov 2020

Life is change – and in the digital environment in particular, the changes have been numerous and fast. While many new opportunities have emerged as a result of these developments, so too have new threats, and the yachting industry has not been left immune. In the new world of intelligent technologies, the frequency, intensity and consequential damages of cyber attacks against ships cruising to worldwide destinations have drastically increased over the last two decades.

The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has now taken action against these threats, releasing new guidelines on cyber risk management effective from 1 January 2021. All commercial vessels above 500 GT must comply with these new regulations, addressing cyber risks under the International Safety Management Code (ISM Code).

This new regulation is an excellent example how international shipping standards can be of great benefit to owners of private yachts. Although only yachts over 500 GT will need to be audited to prove that they have procedures and plans in place to improve their cyber security resilience, the same procedures are just as relevant to smaller yachts, and even more so to older yachts where there is a greater chance that multiple independent systems can be compromised. All yachts need assistance and a plan to recover information and be able operate safely after a cyber attack. 

Protection of yachts does not only involve the on board server, but also machinery control systems, navigation computers and accounting systems – as well as ensuring the security of the crew’s Bring Your Own Devices (BYODs) such as laptops, tablets, phones and USB sticks, which includes routines like multiple factor identification and regular software updates.

At Ocean Independence, we believe that a private yacht should be just as safe and secure as a commercial yacht, and therefore our policy is to manage them to the same standards. Our yacht compliance team has already started the implementation process of providing cyber security awareness training to all our crews in order to reduce the chances of cyber threats occurring in the fleet and will continue to adapt to new cyber developments.

For further information on how Ocean Independence can help secure your yacht against cyber threats, please contact our yacht compliance team at [email protected].

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