New maritime cyber-security centre launched

It aims to strengthen security through early detection, monitoring, analysis, response to potential cyber attacks

The Maritime Cybersecurity Operations Centre aims to strengthen maritime security through early detection, monitoring, analysis and response to potential cyber attacks. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has a bulwark against cyber attacks with its new Maritime Cybersecurity Operations Centre, launched officially yesterday.

The centre, which has been operating since last November, aims to strengthen Singapore's maritime security through early detection, monitoring, analysis and response to potential cyber attacks.

The centre is operated by ST Engineering out of its hub in Ang Mo Kio.

ST Engineering cyber-security systems president Lau Thiam Beng said the scalable and modular design of the new centre allows for new technology to be introduced when necessary to deal with evolving threats.

"As the world's busiest transshipment hub, it is important that we safeguard our maritime and port critical infrastructure to prevent a major disruption to port operations and delivery of services," said MPA chairman Niam Chiang Meng.

He added that the new centre will share data links with the MPA's port operations control centre, which monitors the navigational safety of vessels in Singapore's waters.

The future Tuas port - the first phase of which is expected to be completed in 2021 - will integrate both port operations control and maritime cyber-security operations, said MPA operations technology director David Foo.

Explaining the need for the new centre, Mr Foo said there was an increasing number of cyber-attack threats in the maritime sector, and this had escalating impact.

Two years ago, container shipping company AP Moller-Maersk was hit by a ransomware cyber attack, which was said to have cost the firm as much as US$300 million (S$411 million) in lost revenue.

"Cyber attacks can also endanger the navigational safety of a ship and, of course, the lives on board," said Mr Foo.

He said the round-the-clock operations of the new centre would allow MPA to respond more quickly to threats.

The authority also announced a collaboration with the Singapore Shipping Association and Singapore Polytechnic to develop a new training course on maritime cyber security for maritime personnel.

The one-day course will be introduced in the first half of next year.

MPA is also in collaboration with the Singapore Maritime Institute to embark on a maritime cyber-security research programme, focusing on the protection of shipboard systems.

MPA also announced it would build on the existing Port Authorities Roundtable initiative, to collaborate on cyber-security initiatives for the maritime sector.

Correction note: An earlier version of the article misspelt the name of MPA chairman Niam Chiang Meng. We are sorry for the error.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2019, with the headline New maritime cyber-security centre launched. Subscribe