Cyber security proved an area of concern for industry representatives at the annual Tanker Shipping and Trade Conference in London, with shipowners and oil majors candidly revealing statistics regarding the cyber attacks their organisations routinely face.
With the startling US$300M in estimated losses from June's cyber attack on container shipping giant Maersk still fresh in the industry's collective memory, BP's chief financial officer Guy Mason revealed the number of email phishing attempts his organisation faces and told attendees that a little bit of paranoia is the 'right approach' towards the risk of cyber attack.
“Today's most fast-moving security concern is the cyber challenge,” Mr Mason said. “In 2016, we intercepted 614M phishing emails – 1.7M a day, 70,000 per hour, 1,200 a minute.”
Under heavy fire from would-be cyber criminals, Mr Mason said BP was taking the threat very seriously. “We're responding by investing in systems and their advances and in people and their awareness to threats.”
Mr Mason said the concern his company felt was most worrying for shipping was that of a navigation system being compromised by ill-meaning attackers.
“Being just a little bit paranoid in this space feels the right approach, to us. Adopting the attitude that there's always someone out there trying to get you.”
From the shipowners side, Euronav chief executive Paddy Rodgers said his organisation faced 50,000 attempts to breach its cyber security every day – and that he was told the figure was fairly common.
“You're constantly under attack, and if you're not careful, you will be breached,” he said. “If it's not at the top of the risk matrix for every board of directors, it should be.”
Dania Ship Management chief executive Carsten Ostenfeldt concurred, saying “I think there is a high risk that there will be a vessel going somewhere it shouldn't” as a result of a cyber security breach.