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Cyber security is not just Information Technology’s problem

Crew instead should share some responsibility on cyber safety

South Korea’s HMM Company Limited famously suffered a security breach on its email system on 12 June 2021. Though the company did not lose bookings, its was convenient to assume cyber security is IT’s lapse. Could this have been prevented if seafarers had a part in the defence against threats?

Involve crew in cyber hygiene
In an interview, Daniel Ng, Chief Executive Officer of CyberOwl pointed out seafarers are vulnerable to breaches – more often unknowingly. The pandemic compelled the industry to quicken their technology adoption, without thorough consideration in the importance of having teams skilled in handling cyber risks. The lack of cyber hygiene subjected companies to breaches. When crew is trained in safe handling of critical data and securing networks, employers can be more assured of their defence against threats.

Ng added it is also beneficial for ship masters and chief officers understand how they have effectively executed cyber hygiene and policy compliance through monthly reports and cyber risk monitoring systems. In terms of relationship dynamics, when crew’s efforts to protect the company against threats are recognised, they would be encouraged and more proactive in their roles.

Another drawback that the industry grapples with is the companies’ persistent mindset of typecasting cyber issues under IT’s turf. Introducing technology to a conventional industry is a long shot for many, unless they are run by millennials who would be more open to integrate into their operations.

Ng concluded the purpose of increased connectivity is to obtain richer data and remote support to support better decisions resulting in cost savings and maximised revenue. However, such cannot be shouldered by the IT team alone. Involving crew in the action would promote cohesion as cyber security is equivalent to safety measures in the seafarers’ eyes. That may only be possible if the decision makers are open to new practices.



Crewing Online News Team
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