NYK Line and Dualog to work on a new IT solution

Dualog monitoring room. Credit: NYK Line

Japanese shipping group NYK Line said on 21 November 2019 that it is working with Norwegian IT company Dualog on an IT solution that will enable it to be alerted to any cyber attack on its ships, and to prepare an appropriate response.

Norwegian government fund Innovation Norway will provide two years of funding to the project, which has been named Cepa (Latin for “onion”) Shield.

The importance of cyber security in the shipping world has been heightened after the Petya ransomware attack crippled Danish maritime group A.P. Møller Maersk’s worldwide computer systems in June 2017.

Ships remain connected to the internet and continually share data between ship and shore. Ship data is monitored onshore using internet of things (IoT) technology, and electronic chart data is distributed from shore. Despite these benefits, there is a risk of becoming exposed to cyber threats, such as becoming infected by malware.

With this in mind, the 98th session of the International Maritime Organization Maritime Safety Committee (IMO MSC 98) approved guidelines on maritime cyber risk management in June 2017. The committee recommended that a description of cyber risk management be included in the safety management systems of shipowners and ship management companies.

Cepa Shield’s launch comes two years after NYK teamed with Dualog. The collaboration was formed after MSC 98 approved guidelines on cyber security and taps Dualog’s strength in data sharing between ship and shore.

The cyber risk management system developed by the Cepa Shield project will be able to be applied to all NYK-operated vessels and will provide multiple layers of risk management.

When a cyber attack comes from the outside, these features help NYK to grasp from shore the condition of each vessel against the attack. NYK can then remain aware of any ships subject to a concentrated attack and in need of immediate protection.

With the financial support of Innovation Norway over the next two years, the project will carry out trials on 50 NYK-operated vessels.

Teams from NYK and Dualog will work to ensure maximum efficiency in the way systems between ship and shore talk to one another, both in-house and with third-party managers and solutions providers.

Apart from meeting the secured ship-to-shore data exchange needs of NYK, the project’s development work, which is scheduled to last until the end of 2021, will generate enhanced services that Dualog can add to its own portfolio that will benefit its many other clients and the shipping society as a whole.

The technical concept of the relationship between users and organisations is expected to add a new dimension in digital collaboration throughout the whole industry.