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Transport

Cyber-SHIP Lab

The University of Plymouth is to set up a research facility, to address the cyber security challenges facing the shipping industry. A £3m Cyber-SHIP Lab, supported by funding from Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation, and industry, will bring together connected maritime systems as found on an actual ship’s bridge.

Cyber security and information systems people will assess them for weaknesses, and identify the human and technological changes needed to make them secure. The Lab is being developed and delivered with industry sectors; equipment manufacturers, solution developers, shipping and port operators, ship builders, classification agencies and insurance companies. It will feature maritime tech such as radar equipment, a voyage data recorder (VDR), an Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), an automatic identification system (AIS) and communications devices. The university already has a simulator for training seafarers, and a lab examining the latest in cyber.

The Lab – it’s been funded for three years with a view to it then becoming self-sustaining – is being coordinated by researchers from the uni’s Maritime Cyber Threats Research Group and Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research.

Prof Kevin Jones, Executive Dean for Science and Engineering and Principal Investigator for the Project, called it a transformational step towards developing a national centre for research into maritime cyber-security. “It will support a range of research and training that cannot be achieved with simulators alone, and also facilitate the development and delivery of new maritime cyber provision for graduates, postgraduates and industry. Cyber-attacks are a Tier 1 National UK threat. But although the maritime sector is advancing technologically, it is not well protected against cyber or cyber-physical attacks and accidents. Worth trillions, it has an unmatched reach across international waters, which exposes people and goods to a diverse range of factors, putting the shipping industry at high risk. As such, this facility has never been more timely.”


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