Royal Navy under threat from cyber-attacks

New report suggests threats increasing. 

Royal Navy under threat from cyber-attacks

Maxwell Cooter

The Royal Navy is under an increasing danger of cyber-attack and the government should ramp up training to deal with the threat.

That’s according to a report from researchers at the University of Lancaster who found that maritime systems were especially susceptible to computer attacks and that ageing systems and a lack of training were particular barriers.

Security consultant Brian Honan said that all navies, indeed all shipping companies, were vulnerable to these threats. “What the report highlights is that many ships use Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 – one of which Microsoft has stopped supporting, and one Microsoft is about to stop supporting. And because ships are at sea a lot, it’s not always easy to replace antiquated systems. It’s a problem faced by private companies too,” he said, adding that the Lancaster report mirrors one produced in the autumn of last year by ENISA that also pointed out the security problems faced by shipping.

According to the Lancaster report, Cyber Operations in the Maritime Environment, shipping is a tempting target for cyber-criminals as 95 percent of goods are conveyed by sea.

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