Written by Walter Hannemann, Product Manager | 14 August 2019
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Safeguarding fleet IT infrastructure has become a top priority for ship owners and managers, as highly skilled ‘cyberpirates’ never stop devising new ways to exploit the vulnerabilities of vessel computers and networks.
Antivirus products have been evolving for decades, and, even though they are no longer enough as a single solution, they are a critical component in ensuring continued protection against relentless cyber threats in the maritime industry.
Your crews aren’t located within your company’s “four walls” but all over the world oceans, doing their jobs in distributed IT environments far away from shoreside headquarters. This atomised model poses a formidable security challenge. Given the remoteness of onboard IT ecosystems, updates can be tricky.
Modern antivirus solutions perform their tasks by leveraging powerful computers and ubiquitous network/Internet access, but how can we use them, considering the reality of ships’ infrastructure? Can we count on them to keep your ships safe from viruses, spyware, Trojans, password stealers and other threats designed to avoid traditional defenses?
Taking the pain out of maritime antivirus
An encompassing cybersecurity approach should first try to NOT deliver viruses or malware to the ships’ computers, at least by ensuring safe email delivery (but that is a subject for another blog post).
Antivirus solutions for ships, provided as part of a corporate-level cyber-security service, must be easy to deploy, cost-efficient, and use little resources. They scan and clean all files and data present or arriving into a computer. More specifically:
The system updates the signature files across the distributed network on a regular basis.
Updates are delivered and deployed automatically, even without Internet access.
Antivirus solutions for ships offer full control of antivirus status per ship and computer – without going onboard.
They generate alerts to the administrators in case a virus is detected/removed
No manual procedures are required after deployment. The system updates automatically, and the status is automatically reported to the shore system.
Centralised maritime antivirus management enables you to enforce your onboard malware defences – efficiently, expediently, and without hassle.
When it comes to maritime cybersecurity, a single point of protection or a single method of defence simply will not cut it. The endless cat-and-mouse game of fighting cybercrime requires a multilayered approach based on proactive technologies.
The Dualog antivirus service, powered by award-winning Internet security provider ESET, is designed specifically for the maritime industry. To provide even more effective protection and stay ahead of the constant barrage of malware deployed against modern, web connected ships, we are constantly evolving our technologies to go beyond the use of standard, static signatures.
Besides providing this multilayered approach with filtering before emails go onboard (which not only improves protection but saves data), we are already preparing the next AV service, including cloud-augmented antivirus tools and sophisticated heuristic analysis.
Because those features rely on powerful processing capabilities and good Internet access, they are focused on the next generation of connected ships.
Walter Hannemann started his career in a computer factory product development laboratory in 1983, while taking his education in Electronics and Information Systems. Since then, his jobs have involved software architecture and development, infrastructure design and overall IT management, in both large enterprises and startups. With a passion for “making things work”, shipping applications and all digital things onboard ships became his interest after joining Maersk in 2008. Managing IT in large companies like Maersk Tankers and Torm has given him insider’s knowledge in the shipping industry and enticed his entrepreneurship to help moving the industry into the digital future.
Based in Copenhagen as Product Manager for Dualog, Walter enjoys finding solutions for big (and small) problems while keeping the overview and a forward-looking approach, with deep dives in technical subjects when necessary – or possible.