Why CSO Alliance
Connecting CSOs
Communicating & Challenging
Confirming Crime
Collaborating Globally
News & Workshops
Contact us
Join now


Icon representing Maritime Information Warfare Conference 2019 -London -November 18-19
Maritime Information Warfare Conference 2019 -London -November 18-19

November 18th 2019
Icon representing European Maritime Cyber Resilience Forum - London - October 31
European Maritime Cyber Resilience Forum - London - October 31

October 31st 2019
Icon representing CYPnaval Conference - October 2nd - Cyprus
CYPnaval Conference - October 2nd - Cyprus

October 2nd 2019

Smoke but no fire

Written by David Rider 
March 11th 2016
Written by David Rider
As piracy was brought under control off East Africa, so the maritime security companies began looking for other areas of business. Cyber crime was seen as a serious growth industry and the shipping industry a ripe sector. 2015 saw a number of articles from those with vested interests, warning the maritime industry that old systems and a lack of skills left them open to cyber crime and other forms of digital abuse.

While there have been a number of cyber crimes involving shipping companies and ports, this month saw a new angle: pirates working with hackers.

According to a report from Verizon, “pirates” allegedly hacked a shipping company’s servers and accessed their content management system (CMS) in order to locate valuable cargo. The pirates then used this information to hijack the vessel at sea and, armed with a bill of lading, located specific containers to rob. This happened several times over a period of several months, the report claimed, until Verizon’s personnel identified the issue.

That’s the official story, pulled from articles covering Verizon’s report. We reached out to Verizon to ask for further details. Even a simple geographical location for the alleged incidents, and received nothing.

It would be fair to say that we are extremely sceptical about the claims made. We have received no reports which even come close to matching the stories here. Significantly, we have very few reports of “pirates” individually robbing containers on ships and only one springs to mind for the past 12 months.

Without further information from Verizon, we are unable to confirm this series of incidents. While it’s true that a number of shipping companies could do more to improve their information security practices, we do not believe that the cyber threat is quite as great as some companies would suggest. You can find the full article on Verizon’s findings HERE.