Cybersecurity and Shipping

Cybersecurity and Shipping

  • Alexey Grechany, Project Manager, Sea Data Lab, on specific threats poised by cyber attacks for the shipping industry

    At the moment, all major and medium-sized players in logistics depend on information systems for accepting, storing, generating and transferring various data. Nowadays there is no need to carry a large number of papers to your contracting party and hand them over physically, as all documents are transferred electronically saving companies time loss and delivery costs. IT systems have become an integral part of practically all business processes, so that an end user takes them for granted and seldom notices them.

    Specialists in cybersecurity say that the system is as reliable as its weakest component. And companies developing and producing security software make it their task to timely discover such weak spots and amend them.

    Cybersecurity and ShippingSpeaking of liner shipping, the main processes related to processing dataflow and supporting business are aimed at generating, accepting, processing, coordinating, confirming and transferring documents both inside the company and to third parties. At present, most of these processes are performed electronically and require IT support, so it is the IT infrastructure is the basis of their functioning.

    Besides, major liner operators have a wide geographic scope of presence with a lot of branch offices all over the world, and has a large number of users of its IT infrastructure. This means that in case the key elements of the system are down, the consequences for the business may be catastrophic.

    In addition to the large number of documents circulating inside the company, there is also a vast amount of document traffic with third parties, container terminals, customs bodies, etc. Part of this document flow has a narrow entry gate. E.g., vessels entering ports carry thousands of containers, which are accompanied by the corresponding number of documents. And the terminal receives all this data in one iteration within a very short period of time before unloading, so, this joint is quite sensitive to interruption in data transfer.

    Cybersecurity and Shipping

    As of the terminals, her the situation is the same, the difference is that a terminal as a large center of data acceptance, processing, generation and transfer, works with different shipping lines, customs bodies and other parties, which transfer large amounts of information and to whom the terminal also sends large data flows in EDI format.

    There are other requirements of the market participants, one of them being delivery in time. Some cargo types, such as vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and seafood are more sensitive to delays, and have strict restrictions as to delivery time. Often, such cargo is also temperature-sensitive. And information on the temperature regime when the container is stored at a terminal is transferred electronically. Component parts used in manufacturing are also quite sensitive to delivery time.

    In case the customs has not received electronic information on the cargo in advance, there will be delays with customs formalities and issuing the cargo to the consignee.

    Summing it up, if for some reason data exchange in this complicated information chain with multiple parties involved is interrupted for more than a day (sometimes, just for several hours), this can have a very negative impact on the business. And it does not matter whether it was the terminal, or the shipping line, or the customs that discontinues data communication.

    That is the reason why it is so important for all those active in the shipping market, and especially or large companies, to develop their own IT systems up to high availability standards, which have solutions aimed at avoiding service interruptions by managing breakdowns and cutting scheduled downtime.

    SeaData’s experience in restoring transport and logistics companies’ IT systems, which became target of cyber attacks, shows that the following steps can help minimize the impact of such attacks, maintain the continuity of business processes and accelerate getting operations back to normal:

    • Making back-up copies of all the key elements of all the infrastructure and storing these copies in a reliable way. We recommend using reserve copy solutions that are not visible directly from the local network, and which are operated via special gateway software, such as belt storage systems or cloud services;
    • Developing and testing system recovery scenarios;
    • Having specialists who can in a short time diagnose the current state of the IT infrastructure and restore its functions in a short period of time;
    • Maintaining efficient communication between all the parties involved, including different departments of the company and its customers/partners;
    • Being prepared to develop and use non-standardized individual solutions.

    When Maersk was target of cyber attack in July 2017, SeaData was part of the international team working to restore the IT system of Maersk Russia. The coordinated efforts of the line employees and our specialists made it possible to restore the key IT applications of the company so that no vessel call to Russian ports was delayed.


  • Comments: 0

    Leave a Reply

    Related content
    28.11.2017
    During the last 9 months of 2017, foreign trade turnover between Russia and the countries of the European […]
    20.03.2017
    The growing number of players providing all sorts of services in this market allows of offering more than one variant of delivery to our customers instead of just one logistics solution as was the case several years ago.
    13.12.2017
    In January-October 2017, Russia increased volumes of vodka export 3.9% year-on-year to 1.67 decalitres (scaled in terms of […]
    28.12.2017
    It's Christmas lull and, as was predicted, rates are continuing to fall down.
    21.12.2017
    Russia’s trade turnover with the EU countries in January-October made 191.9 bn euro, up 23.5% year-on-year.
    29.11.2017
    PJSC TransContainer has published its financial results under IFRS for the third quarter and nine months of 2017. […]
    22.12.2017
    December 20, the port stations of the October (Oktyabrskaya) Railway unloaded the largest ever number of railcars during […]
    19.12.2017
    During the 10 months of 2017 Russia imported 529.8 thousand tons of fresh and frozen meet, 6% more […]
    22.11.2017
    PORTSTAT Containers – before you get started For you convenience, use full screen mode to work in PORTSTAT […]
    07.12.2017
    Russia will be able to increase significantly the volume of grain exports to 70-80 million tons per year. […]
    22.12.2017
    The Moscow Arbitrage Court has approved the terms of a settlement agreement between the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service […]
    12.12.2017
    Russian coal export grew 9.8% year-on-year during January-October 2017 to make 146.17 mn tons, according to the RF Custom Service’s statistics.
  • Fields marker by * are required

    Order research

  • Login
  • Fields marker by * are required

    Buy a subscription for the regular maritime analytical materials of the  Russian Federation

  • Fields marker by * are required

    Buy Subscription for Foreign Trade via Russian Ports Analysis Online Service