Written by Walter Hannemann, Product Manager | 03 October 2019
Think before you click!
Every shipping company that is up-to-date on the new maritime cyber threat reality should drill this mantra into its crews. They need to be trained properly, so that they understand what good cyber hygiene looks like – and the risks of getting it wrong.
Nonetheless, despite all efforts to raise awareness, provide training, and communicate the cyber risks at all levels of your organisation, people will still make mistakes. An unsuspecting crew member could activate malware by clicking on a link in an email* or simply by visiting an infected website from a computer or device with outdated software.
Watertight maritime cybersecurity is achieved through a multilayer, multi-tool approach. Focusing on knowledge, behaviour and mindset is a critical component of a strong cyber resilience, but creating a safety net to catch even the mistakes or unavoidable actions adds a lot to the overall defence.
Because DNS is such a key component in the Internet infrastructure, it makes perfect sense to also protect from malware and undesirable content at this basic level.
Read on to learn how Dualog® Protect, by operating at the DNS level, protects your ships and their onboard IT systems even before an attack occurs.
But first, what exactly is DNS?
The Domain Name System (DNS) is the core technology that directs users to different web sites and other locations on the internet. Simply put, the system turns humanly understandable domain names into internet protocol (IP) addresses understood by machines.
For example, when you type in the domain name www.dualog.com, this is converted into (the very difficult to remember) IP address 184.108.40.206, where the computer is going to fetch the data from.
DNS is sometimes called the Internet's phone book because it converts a website's name that people know to a number that the Internet actually uses.
As the all-Internet-catalogue (for both good and bad stuff), DNS is easily accessible to users with good intentions – but also to threat actors.
*Wondering how an email with a malicious link could go through the email filters? Something like this could happen: By the time the email was checked, the link was benign, but then changed to malware (DNS is just a catalogue, and where the address points to can change dynamically).
DNS is a great place for plugging in a defence layer that protects against threats that traditional security solutions, such as antivirus or firewalls, might miss.
As DNS is behind the majority of Internet traffic, it makes sense to detect and respond to potential cyber attacks there, before any data is downloaded by crew members heedless of the ‘Think before you click’ advice.
Dualog® Protect provides an additional layer of security that is simple to implement and highly effective. By operating at the DNS level – blocking malicious content before it can access the site – the service allows your crews to use the Internet safely.
Equally important, Dualog® Protect provides a detailed dashboard with complete insight into all DNS requests and highlights and alerts for any malicious (or potentially malicious) activity.
Dualog® Protect protects all computers and devices attached to all of your shipboard networks. drastically reducing the risk of malware attacks on any of your vessels.
Read more: Dualog® Protect – easily explained
Dualog® Protect is easy to set up and configure, with four levels of predefined policies to choose from, applied fleetwide or individually per ship or even per network. You can even design company policies to only allow certain services or sites and block others.
And from the moment it’s deployed onboard, the dashboard starts getting populated with live and statistical information.
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.