A trojan on your subsea tree

Its been slow this month on board. The economic downturn has hit the shipping industry in Canada pretty hard. Luckily for us, its quite slow but were are still operating, albeit at a much slower pace then years past, which has given me some time to catch up on my movie viewing. As a result, you’ve seen several post on The Monitor reviewing various maritime theme presentations. Well one movie I did see recently, has nothing to do with maritime matters, but was nonetheless quite enjoyable, and that is Clive Owen and Julia Robert starring as corporate spies in the movie Duplicity.

The movie was entertaining, I thought it was a pretty fresh take on spies. It was all that more thought provoking for me, because the week before I had flagged a story in the Offshore Engineer magazine, regarding just that, corporate spying. In the magazine article, ScanSafe is quoted as saying that the offshore oil and gas industry has seen an increase of 400% in Trojan viruses, targeting their operations to steal corporate data, making it the “most at risk” industry.

I paste the blurb, below, for your enlightenment. It is easy to see that there is a glaring hole in security on board today’s ships in general, with respect to corporate data stored on vessel computers. In all the companies I have worked with, only very few, have taken this seafarer / data interface seriously and applied basic security principals. With the ever increasing interaction of seafarers and computers on board vessels, and the amount of corporate and or sensitive data exposed, there will need to be a standard of basic computer literacy. Such as what basic English skills has become to communication on board ships, there will need to be a similar approach to data security skills.

Oil sector ‘most at risk’ from Trojans
04/14/09, Offshore Engineer

The energy & oil sector has 400% elevated exposure to data theft Trojans, according to the annual global threat report from web security specialist ScanSafe.

The report lists the top five most at risk verticals as energy & oil, pharmaceutical & chemical, engineering & construction, transportation & shipping, and the travel & entertainment industry. The average number of unique new variants of data theft Trojans encountered by customers in the first three quarters of 2008 was 57. The energy & oil sector encountered 213, an elevated exposure of nearly 400%. For those in the engineering & construction industry, the unique variant count was 166, nearly 300% greater than the average.

‘Today’s malware is all about stealing and harvesting data,’ says the report. ‘Cyber criminals have moved away from defacing sites or merely designing malware as a prank and it is now created with commercial and criminal intent. Online crime has become a lucrative business and both commercial and personal data fetch a significant sum on black markets.’

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