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Maritime lawyers join cyber security firm to provide 'health check'

MARITIME law firm Ince & Co has advised shipping and transport companies to prepare for more cyber-attacks in the wake of recent damaging incidents.

The London law firm is working with the leading cyber-security team at Navigant to offer supply chain companies what it calls a cyber "health-check". 

"In this health-check, we create a written assessment of IT procedures, employee protocols, regulatory and contractual obligations, insurance cover against losses following a cyber-attack," said Ince & Co partner in Hong Kong, Rory Macfarlane. 

"There is a financial cost to these incidents. But the reputational damage could prove more serious. We have seen hard-earned track records for compliance and excellence all but evaporate in the event of a breach," he said. 

Following the disruption caused by the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks earlier this year, a spate of incidents in the recent weeks has highlighted the evolving threat to supply chain companies.

"Shipping company BW Group revealed last month that it was hacked in July, causing its computer systems to go offline," said the firm's press release. 

"In addition, so-called ethical hackers claimed to identify security flaws in the onboard satcom boxes of satellite communications company KVH, whilst a cyber-security specialist reported on vulnerabilities in Inmarsat's shipboard communications platform," it said. 

Increasing digitalisation, advances in satellite communications, and the drive towards greater efficiencies all increase the risks, said Mr Macfarlane. 

"Throughout 2017, we have seen headlines of cyber-attacks with growing frequency and severity," he said. 

"It is imperative that shipping companies act to mitigate their cyber-risk now, before they become the next victim of a major breach," he said.

He pointed out that WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks as examples of the type of threat facing the shipping industry: 

"The effects of the NotPetya and WannaCry ransomware attacks proved a potent example of how costly a large scale, sophisticated cyber-attack can be, but for those working within cyber-security, these attacks did not come as a surprise.
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