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Digital Ship joins forces with industry experts to discuss maritime IT strategies

Six industry experts have joined forces with Digital Ship to drive discussion and engagement around maritime digital strategies today.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The thought leaders are part of a new advisory board launched by Digital Ship to help generate fresh perspectives and direction for its upcoming forum in Oslo on June 5. All six members have strong backgrounds in maritime digitalisation and business and will share their experiences to support Digital Ship in developing discussions around the use of digital technology to improve business.

The members will bring new ideas and perspectives for discussion on topics such as satellite communications, how to better use data for vessel monitoring and performance, where we are in the cybersecurity challenge at the moment and whether we are tackling the right threats, and how monitoring crew health and performance can enhance seafarer wellbeing and overall business performance.

The 2019 Digital Ship advisory board consists of:

Leif Arne Strømmen, VP Innovation, G2 Ocean

Leif has held various positions in the maritime industry including Global Head Projects, Oil & Gas & Marine Logistic at Kuehne + Nagel. He has been a board member at the Port of Bergen and the Logistics division of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO). He has a strong background in IT, digitalisation, automation and new technologies, corporate management, project logistics and business and product development.

Linda Johnstone Sorensen, Head of HSEQ and Human Factors, Frontline Management

Linda is a senior Human Factors professional with extensive experience in developing complex design, operational safety and efficiency solutions for the oil, gas, maritime and transport sectors in the UK, Norway and globally. Linda has worked as a human factors’ specialist for BW Group, and as a senior consultant at Lloyd’s Register. She is currently undertaking an Executive MBA at London Business School.

Roald Rossnes, Chief Digital Officer, Fjord Line

Roald is presently responsible for Fjord Lines’ digital platform and technology utilisation. He has previously worked for CSC, Nordea as a business IT manager and as a consultant for Capgemini Norway. Roald holds an MSC in computer science/bioinformatics from the University of Bergen.

Parvaneh Sarshar, Chief Technology Officer, OSM Maritime Group

Parvaneh has been with OSM Maritime Group for two years, working as chief technology officer and global manager digital strategy. She has previously worked at Wilhelmsen Group and as a researcher at CIEM Lab at the University of Agder. Parvaneh holds a PhD in information technology.

Tord Nordahl, Chief Digital Officer, Marin IT (internal IT service provider to DOF ASA and Austevoll Seafood ASA)

Tord has a passion for technology and how digital transformation can increase productivity and revenue through IT. His current role requires the use of deep technical knowledge and an understanding of how technology plays an important role in increasing productivity. Tord has worked for Microsoft and has held courses and been active with both online and offline communities within BizTalk and Azure. He has also spoken at various events all over the world.

Kristin Helen Andersen, Vice President IT, G2 Ocean

As well as taking the role of vice president of IT at G2 Ocean, Kristin has held the position of head of IT at Gearbulk and has worked at PwC as a senior manager and business process lead. Kristin has been working with digital strategy and projects with a special focus on transformation and has 15 years of experience working with technology driven management. Her area of responsibilities has mainly been in the interface between the business and IT.

Other speakers confirmed so far for the June 5 forum include:

  • Jan Wilhelmsson, Chief Digital Officer, Navig8 Group
  • Stephen Conley, Global Platform Services Manager, SES Networks
  • Vegar Bøthun, Head of IT, Höegh Autoliners AS
  • Martin N. Hjell, Head of Technology & Digital Strategy, Western Bulk
  • Nabil Ben Soussia, Vice President – Maritime, IEC Telecom Group

Find out more about the event here.{/mprestriction}

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  • We hacked a ship. The owner is liable.

    Author: Ewan Robinson, director of maritime communications and solutions provider Yangosat. 

    We hacked a ship. The Owner is Liable.

    Well, we hacked the communications system of the ship. Technically we have been doing this for a few years.

    This time we did it like a “bad guy” would.

    We got into the vessel, belonging to a multinational company, and found out everything possible about the system, the setup, the manufacturers information.

    This is a very specialised vessel that was alongside in the capitol city of a major European country, carrying out cargo discharge.

    We could have broken the system so badly, the vessel would have been back to Sat-C and flag signals.

    Any information going through that satcomm would have been able to be collected, checked and used.

    As we are Ethical Hackers, we are obliged to act in certain ways. One of them is that we have to tell everyone involved if we did something during testing.

    We did. Well, we tried to.

    The Owners operators, when we finally managed to get someone in the overworked operations department to listen, didn’t care and ignored us.

    The manufacturers didn’t even bother to respond.

    All of the test was documented, peer reviewed and otherwise substantiated by trusted persons.

    The lawyers are going to have a field day and be very happy.

    Ship owners are not.

    Owners and operators are being badly supported and advised by these super providers, who use third party engineers, or poorly trained engineers, and leave systems in an exposed state. Equipment manufacturers and developers are so guilty of poor techniques and security that using “industry best practice” is a total contradiction.

    Lawyers, P&I and Class are going to be so busy refusing claims in the event of a cyber incident, that the poor owners are not going to know where to turn.

    Owners are forced into accepting sub-standard equipment. This equipment cannot be made secure in its current format, and yet the manufacturers and developers, fail to update and secure them.

    The providers supply this equipment, along with the bandwidth and engineers who install them, and then incorrectly configure and allow public access to them. The Owner is still liable.

    So how were they failed?

    We have been presenting at various conferences over the last few years, highlighting how exposed we are as an industry to ‘hackers’ and bad actors.

    It normally consisted of a prepared victim vessel, using a system that had been poorly configured by the provider, or the providers appointed/trained engineer, and accessing the equipment onboard, normally the antenna or satcomm system. It’s a quick way to display to an audience just how much we are ‘displaying publicly’.

    recently someone asked “what could someone actually do?”

    A relevant question we thought, so we tested to see what we could actually do.

    As a basic attack, an intruder could lock out all the users from accessing the equipment. They could turn off the satcom, or prevent systems and users onboard gaining access to the internet or to systems onshore or stop onshore reaching the vessel.

    OK, so this is annoying and disruptive, costing from a few hundreds to several tens or hundreds  of thousands if the charterer deems “off hire” status due to lack of communications.

    Well, that’s quite expensive, potentially.

    But what can we learn from the systems we can get at?

    A lot.

    Given the amount of systems that are exposed to the internet, with poor configuration, it is relatively easy to find a ‘victim’, and to maximise the information gained by using the tools available and exposed by the simplest of mistakes.

    Default admin passwords.

    There is a need for it, but no excuse for it.

     Service Providers, who manage several thousands of vessels, still use engineers who leave default admin usernames and passwords.

     So, it’s a fault on one vessel, but it cant really hurt can it?

    It can. And it does.

     Our target vessel was found.

    That took 7 minutes to locate.

    It belonged to a very large multinational corporation. The default username and password was still in effect on the VSAT system.

    Access was made to the administration area, so all usernames and passwords could be changed. Also available was access to the system by FTP. Even if this had not already been enabled, as we were in the Admin area, we could have enabled it.

     This is where major security flaw #1 was found. The FTP access gave access to the entire operating system of the device, not just the FTP area.

    Major security flaw #2 was putting a text file in every folder with a map of the entire structure of the operating system.

    This allowed for finding and copying the ‘hidden’ password file to our local machine. It was actually encrypted.

     2 hours later, it wasn’t.

    So now we had all the manufacturers usernames and passwords.

     Now we can access the publicly available machines where they have changed the default admin username and password, by using the manufacturers. They have these so the engineers can always get in. Great for business and support, not so for security.

     The network connections listed in the antenna setup were then investigated.

     The VSAT Modem was accessed, again using default connections on SSH, with publicly available usernames and passwords.

    Command line access to the modem was achieved, allowing us to take control and alter the configuration. In effect we could now control the communications in 2 different places.

     Such systemic failures, at the developmental and operational level, are going to have huge issues when Cyber 2021 comes into force next year.

    Class and P&I will be left wondering who to refuse claims and who to sue for negligence when there are events, while the operators are trusting the providers to implement correctly, and the manufacturers and developers are failing at such basic levels, they will likely be left with the legal responsibility in the first instance.

    The lesson of life in todays marine communications environment?

    Don’t trust what’s being given to you.

    Unless you have had your own trusted IT check what’s gone before, why would you blindly trust a stranger with your vessels now?

    The Owner is Liable.

    Yangosat is a maritime communications and solutions provider, helping shipowners and providers realise new systems and invigorate existing ones. This article has been reproduced with the author's permission. 


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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.


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