A sore but undeniable truth of the maritime industry is that crew are constantly being treated as a liability. To hear it told by shipowners, projects such as the Wilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM)-led initiative with Kongsberg to pilot ships semi-autonomously from dedicated centres on shore, removing crew from the bridge will solve every problem.
The field of cyber security lays this premise out in stark terms: the overwhelming majority of cyber attacks, we are told, are due to some form of human error – or ‘the human element’ as it is often euphemised. It is certainly a compelling narrative; however, 100% of all cyber attacks, successful or not, are the product of human ingenuity.
Perhaps the all-pervading stereotype of lone teenage hackers, bashing away at lines of code in their pyjamas, prevents the cyber threat from being taken seriously. But the fact is that today, cyber attacks are a business model – and a good one – employing thousands of professional, salaried con artists, with nothing but time on their hands to develop ingenious new scams.
The problem was bad enough already; but now, war code designed by state actors to topple governments is being traded on the dark web, and leveraged for petty extortion.
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