New Cyber Protection Tool Launched for Ships’ Navigation Computers


Elcome International has created a new security tool to prevent viruses, malware, or corrupted files from being introduced into ships’ navigational computers, says a press release published on their website.

Ensuring safe file transfer

Elcome Bridge Protect provides a simple and cost-efficient method of ensuring the safe transfer of files without the need for passwords or fingerprint checks. The package includes a special protected USB 3.0 flash drive and custom client software that makes it impossible for infected files to be introduced into the ECDIS and other networked ship systems when uploading electronic charts and updates.

  Automation increases danger

The shipping industry’s growing reliance on automation electronics and digitization increases the danger of cyber “bugs” being introduced into ships and shoreside infrastructure. Cyber attacks in the maritime industry have risen by over 900 percent in the last three years, ranging from malware introductions causing navigational errors to full-blown access-denial ransomware.

“A primary potential point of entry for shipboard cyber infections is downloading from shoreside networks,” explained Kostiantyn Matvieiev, Elcome’s senior manager, charts and publications. “Electronic Nautical Charts (ENC), Notices to Mariners (NtM) and software updates are delivered to the ship by satellite links when underway or on a DVD when in port. A USB flash drive is generally used to load these files into the ECDIS computer. If an off-the-shelf unprotected USB is used, it can potentially introduce corrupted files, which can spread throughout the ship’s interconnected network with devastating results.”

Automatically locking flash drive

The Bridge Protect client software automatically locks the flash drive with a low-level file system that leaves no empty memory space in the USB storage medium, thereby preventing the transfer of harmful files inadvertently into the ship’s computer.

Bridge Protect can be incorporated as part of the Safety Management System stipulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution MSC 428 (98) and becomes a mandatory part of the annual verification of the company’s Document of Compliance, which came into effect 1 January 2021.

Easing the workload

“As the shipping industry transitions from paper charts and publications to electronic media, there is an increasing danger of disabling cyber attacks that can threaten the ship’s safety at sea. Elcome is committed to harnessing cutting-edge technologies to protect ships’ systems and ease the workload for crews without compromising the safety of navigation,” said Jimmy Grewal, executive director of Elcome.

Maintaining convenient methods

As the oldest authorized distributor of UKHO ADMIRALTY navigation products in the UAE, Elcome maintains an unsurpassed inventory of SOLAS-compliant printed and digital nautical charts and publications with various convenient methods of delivery and licensing.

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Source: Elcome


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