Just as cyber attacks are on the rise across all sectors and all nations, leading cyber security company Computer Network Defence (CND) warns of a sharp rise in attacks targeting superyachts. As methods become ever more elaborate the risk has grown dramatically and CND is seeing a steep rise in demand for its expertise from superyacht owners.
Attackers include criminals and even nation states, able to gain control of navigation and other systems critical to the vessel's safe operation. Hackers will also attempt to steal money and information by accessing the yachts’ computers. The worst case scenario involves criminals tracking the movements of a vessel in order to kidnap or take hostages.
CND staff are often asked by clients to try and penetrate a yacht’'s systems, in the same way reformed burglars are used to test a home’s physical security. Whilst CND staff are not former hackers we need to understand the methodologies of hackers; it takes a thief to catch a thief.
Andy Cuff, who founded CND over a decade ago after a military career, said,
“We’ve been working in the maritime sector since we began. At first we worked with naval forces including the Royal Navy and European Union Naval Force, and that expertise is now in demand from high net worth individuals for their yachts. While these wealthy people will have made their homes and businesses cyber secure, they often have not considered their yachts as vulnerable. This is now changing as superyacht owners realise that criminals, nation states and business rivals are quite able to target them whether they are in a marina or at sea."
Andy Cuff of Computer Network Defence
Any yacht with computer systems is potentially vulnerable and CND's modular service can be adapted to counter every likely scenario. Crucially their approach looks at all aspects of cyber security, from users onboard through to the destination of the network traffic as well as activity external to the yacht.
"The level of interest in our superyacht services has risen sharply this year and when owners are having refits, cyber-security is something they now consider.” said Andy.
CND is based in Bath and also has a presence on the Isle of Man, UAE and in the US.