To address the key cyber security challenges that are being faced by the shipping industry, innovative research facilities are being designed at the University of Plymouth.
Funded by the Research England which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, the £3 million Cyber-SHIP Lab and industry will put together a group of maritime systems that are connected that can be presently found on the bridge of an actual ship.
These will be assessed for weaknesses and to find out the human and technological variations that might be required for a safe future by cyber security and information system experts.
The Lab is being developed in collaboration with the main industry sectors like equipment manufacturers, solution developers, shipping and port operators, shipbuilders, classification agencies and insurance companies.
It will also include top notch maritime technology like radar equipment, a voyage data recorder (VDR), an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), an automatic identification system (AIS) and communications devices.
The current maritime facilities of the University which comprises a state-of-the-art simulator for the training professional seafarers and a lab that scrutinizes the latest developments in cyber security will be complemented by it.
The researchers from the Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group and the Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research of the University are being collaborated with for the creation of the Cyber-SHIP Lab. These bring together the newest multidisciplinary research and practical expertise from across the University and beyond.
Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean for Science and Engineering and Principal Investigator for the Project, said: “The creation of the Cyber-SHIP Lab is a transformational step towards developing a national centre for research into maritime cyber-security. It will support a range of research and training that cannot be achieved with simulators alone, and also facilitate the development and delivery of new maritime cyber provision for graduates, postgraduates and industry.
“Cyber-attacks are a Tier1 National UK threat. But although the maritime sector is advancing technologically, it is not well protected against cyber or cyber-physical attacks and accidents. Worth trillions, it has an unmatched reach across international waters, which exposes people and goods to a diverse range of factors, putting the shipping industry at high risk. As such, this facility has never been more timely.”
The Cyber-SHIP Lab is expected to become self sufficient and to address a lot of complex and inter connected issues that have an impact on the shipping industry.
Both the technological and the human behavioural aspects will be taken into account so as to remove the threats efficiently, most importantly seeing the huge change in the types of vessels which can be a victim of cyber attacks in various ways for different motives.
It will also complement the Industrial Strategy of the UK, develop the present relationships between academia and external partners, strengthen and form new international ties by sharing the access to facilities and there by act as a key that will enable facility in support of the goals of economic growth of the Oceansgate development in Plymouth.