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Oct. 26 - Survey Finds Maritime Industry Poorly Prepared for Cyber Attacks

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

October 26, 2018 - Jones Walker found in its inaugural Maritime Cybersecurity Survey that rapidly evolving technologies deployed throughout the U.S. maritime industry to increase efficiencies and competitiveness present significant cybersecurity risks, which it says the industry is unprepared to shoulder.

“While industry stakeholders are educated and aware of the severe implications of a cyber attack, in many respects they are unprepared for the severe fallout from a major cyber attack,” said Andrew Lee, Partner and Co-Chair of the Data Privacy Group & Co-Author of the Maritime Cybersecurity Survey White Paper. "Hackers are modern day pirates who have the ability to sink maritime industry sectors that are unprepared for what's coming at them. For many companies – especially smaller and mid-sized companies – there are gaps in implementing fundamental cybersecurity procedures, including crucial training for employees and testing of cybersecurity systems."

The survey reflects the responses of 126 senior executives, chief information and technology officers, non-executive security and compliance leaders, and key managers from U.S. maritime companies. The respondents represent key sectors in the maritime industry and include professionals from small, mid-size, and large companies.

The major findings from the survey are:

- The U.S. maritime industry is being targeted. Nearly 80% of large U.S. maritime industry companies (more than 400 employees), and 38% of all industry respondents reported that cyber attackers targeted their companies within the past year. 10% of survey respondents reported that the data breach was successful, while 28% reported a thwarted attempt.

- There is a false sense of preparedness in the U.S. maritime industry. 69% of respondents expressed confidence in the maritime industry's overall cybersecurity readiness, yet 64% indicated that their own companies are unprepared to handle the far-reaching business, financial, regulatory, and public relations consequences of a data breach.

- Small and mid-size companies are far less prepared than larger companies to respond to a cybersecurity breach. 100% of respondents from large organizations indicated they are prepared to prevent a data breach, while only 6% of small company (1 to 49 employees) respondents and 19% of mid-size company (50 to 400 employees) respondents indicated preparedness.

- Small and mid-size companies lack even the most fundamental protections, exposing them to huge potential losses. 92% of small company and 69% of mid-size company respondents confirmed they have no cyber insurance. In contrast, 97% of large company respondents have cyber insurance coverage.

“The Jones Walker Maritime Cybersecurity Survey provides evidence of a worrying level of complacency among maritime industry operators about cyber attacks,” said Martin J. Davies, Admiralty Law Institute Professor of Maritime Law & Director, Tulane Maritime Law Center, Tulane University Law School. “Although the financial consequences of data breaches can be crippling, the survey shows that few in the maritime industry are adequately prepared to guard against them, or to respond effectively if an attack occurs. The survey shows unequivocally that action in relation to cybersecurity is urgently needed, by both industry and political leaders.”


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