Thursday, June 18, 2020

New Port Cyber Security White Paper Will Interest Many Beyond the Logistics Community

Comprehensive Glossary of Terms Alone is Well Worth a Look for the Uninitiated
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Although the whole world is currently threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic there is a pre-existing threat which will continue to potentially devastate trade for the foreseeable future, and one which is continually evolving to try and defeat any attempts to eradicate it. We are talking about cyber crime and this week a White Paper published by three logistics industry stakeholders offers guidance which will be welcomed far beyond the confines of the port community it is aimed at.

The newly released document ‘Port Community Cyber Security’ is the result of a meeting at the TT Club offices during the 2019 edition of London International Shipping Week. The insurer got together with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) in association with the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) International and the trio blended the experience of port and cyber security experts, collectively offering many decades of experience both inside and outside the maritime industry.

In truth the viral outbreak probably can take a little of the credit for the publication. Last month the IAPH’s World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) Covid19 Task Force issued its Port Economic Impact Barometer and followed up with a joint communiqué by various maritime industry associations to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as a call to immediately promote digitalised processes and data exchanges throughout world ports.

The evolution of such processes can of course provide additional gateways to hackers and other cyber criminals, something pointed out by IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven in the White Paper’s foreword, when he says:

“With the world’s attention now focused on exiting from lockdowns and preparing for a ‘new normal’, there is an urgent need for inter-governmental organisations, governments and industry stakeholders concerned with maritime trade and logistics to come together and accelerate the pace of digitalisation so that port communities across the world can at least offer a basic package of electronic commerce and data exchange. Increased digitalisation of port communities means ports will need to pay increased attention to cyber security risks.”

The fifteen page White Paper sees each chapter explore a different dimension of the cyber conundrum, with practical recommendations, advice and examples and, as we say, much of this will extrapolate to other industries, businesses and individuals anxious to know more about the shadow world which is cyber crime. These include :

  • Why cyber security is such a vital issue for port communities looking at trade, regulatory, geo-political and defence dimensions
  • The importance of ‘speaking the same language’ around cyber security
  • What is commonly missing in port community cyber security and practical suggestions on steps to increase cyber resilience
  • The essential building blocks for a cyber resilient port community
  • Current cyber security provisions in the IMO rules and the potential evolution of the Port Facility Security Officer role for the future

Many readers will welcome the well-defined Glossary of Cyber Terms which are contained in the document to reach beyond IT-articulate professionals in the port industry, and Patrick Verhoeven concludes:

“We began by creating and publishing our now bi-weekly Port Economic Impact Barometer report for the wider maritime community. We then developed the WPSP Covid-19 Guidance document for ports with the accumulated work of the WPSP-IAPH Task Force. We now offer this Cyber Security White Paper, again by port experts for ports.

”We sincerely hope that this practical, pragmatic approach towards assisting our membership and the world’s ports communities overall will help us overcome the challenges all of us face in the post Covid-19 era. Digitalisation will be key to future port safety and efficiency.”

Photo: Courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.