Maritime Ransomware

Pratt’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report

In this article, the authors explain that shipowners and operators should not only develop cybersecurity plans, but should also have counsel throughout the incident response and recovery.

Cybersecurity concerns are certainly on the radar for shipowners and operators. Cybersecurity breaches can penetrate systems aboard and ashore and can jeopardize safety and adversely impact maritime operations, as well as disrupt the downstream distribution of the goods on board. In that light, it is imperative that shipowners and operators install tough mitigation, detection, and response plans.

As ships undergo digitalization and autonomous system upgrades, cyberattacks and ransomware attempts become more prevalent. Ransomware is defined as a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until the attacked party pays a sum of money. Cybercriminals monetize their operations by extorting their victims and can further sell extracted data. Cyberattackers typically seek the highest payout possible and target companies and industries, including the maritime sector, that rely on time-sensitive data to function. Such attacks can have devastating contemporaneous consequences on multiple players.

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"Maritime Ransomware," by Vanessa C. DiDomenico, Sharon R. Klein, and Karen H. Shin was published in the July-August edition of Privacy & Cybersecurity Law Report (Vol. 9, No. 6), an A.S. Pratt Publication, LexisNexis. Reprinted with permission.

This article was first published in Blank Rome's Mainbrace newsletter in March 2023.