Cyber attacks: new maritime threat warns former IDF Cyber head

Israel Navy arrests stowaway who set fire to Turkish ship in Haifa

Israel Navy arrests stowaway who set fire to Turkish ship in Haifa. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

Thousands of cargo ships that carry billions of dollars of goods are susceptible to cyber threats and there is little to no defense against these threats, according to the former head of the IDF’s Cyber Department Col. (Ret.) Zohar Rozenberg.

These ships are under constant threat of hijackings and ransomware, which can wreak havoc on states economies, he says.

Col. Rozenberg explains that while there is no lack of cybersecurity software, most of the software cannot be applied to the maritime industry.

“No cybersecurity software accounts for protecting a floating mini-city forced into radio silence. Cargo ships, cruise liners, and offshore rigs face greater cybersecurity challenges than the International Space Station. The difference is: astronauts spend two years preparing for a single mission, while deckhands have zero computer expertise,” he says.

These ships have limited space and there isn’t typically room for an IT expert. Most ship captain’s aren’t trained to know what to do if a security breach occurs. Currently, there is no regulated protocols on how to secure all devices from the ship to the port.

Col. Rozenberg believes that without proper security, cyber attacks will continue to grow.

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