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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: The cyber threat to maritime and the insurance industry's response

Lloyd’s List and Insurance Day have gathered the industry’s leading experts for a frank discussion of the evolving cyber threat to shipping and how standardisation, transparency and a significant uptick in funding are required to avert a looming crisis

Depending on which of the latest flurry of industry surveys you have read, cyber attacks and data theft are routinely in the top three risks perceived by maritime businesses.

But those same surveys routinely report the industry is not fully prepared to tackle that risk.

There is a disconnect there that needs addressing, urgently.

The prospect of a major cyber attack has loomed large over the industry for years, but right now the risk rates are flashing red.

On March 28 US president, Joe Biden, said businesses have a “patriotic obligation” to protect themselves from cyber attacks. Businesses must “harden [their] cyber defences immediately”, he said.

The warning was based on “evolving intelligence Russia may be planning a cyber attack”.

So far, the predicted full-scale cyber war is yet to fully materialise, but that does not mean the capabilities are not there and it certainly does not imply the threat has passed. Quite the opposite.

Major cyber attacks have cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars to date. But we are yet to see the consequences of a catastrophic physical loss caused by a cyber attack. The cost of a sunk ship, significant oil spill or a marine choke point blocked as a result of a cyber attack could run into billions of dollars.

But in part due to an unwillingness to go public and share data and partly because this remains steadfastly reactive industry where safety improvements are only ever born out of casualties, we find ourselves woefully unprepared, not just in terms of the practicalities of cyber defences, but in terms of our insurance.

As with any major financial risk, it is critically important to have appropriate coverage.

So this week Lloyd’s List teamed up with our colleagues and friends at Insurance Day for a timely webinar looking at the cyber threat to maritime and the insurance industry’s response.

This week’s edition of the podcast offers some highlights from the live event, but a full recording of the webinar is available, for free. Register here and listen at your leisure.

Speakers on this week’s edition include:

  • Julian Clark, global senior partner at Ince;

  • Päivi Brunou, head of cyber security technology at Wärtsilä Voyage;

  • Bill Egerton, chief cyber officer at Astaara;

  • Simon Meech, cyber practice leader, cyber and technology division at BMS; and

  • Kelly Malynn, senior risk manager at Beazley.

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