My blog on workboats and cyber attacks earlier this month discussed our story in the current issue about the growing concern surrounding maritime cybersecurity. 

U.S. ports are vulnerable to cyber attacks and we are not doing enough to prevent them. A GAO report said that the U.S. should pay “greater attention to potential cyber-based threats.” And Coast Guard Cmdr. Joseph Kramek, in a policy paper published last summer, said in most U.S. ports “basic cybersecurity hygiene measures are not being practiced.” Of the ports studied, none had a cyber attack response plan in place. 

The Coast Guard has a cyber command unit, but more needs to be done. But there is something out there now that companies can do for its mariners.

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP), through a grant from the Maritime Administration, has developed a new computer-based cybersecurity training tool for mariners. It provides a comprehensive overview of the threats that information systems and devices are subject to and the practices recommended to minimize those vulnerabilities. The training tool covers a wide range of topics including maintaining security for corporate and government networks, personal use of workplace computers, good password practices, working on vessels operated or chartered by government agencies, and issues concerning the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

The program includes interactive features as well as a series of questions to assess the user’s understanding of the topics covered and a final assessment section.

After completion, students may print out a “Cyber Warrior” completion certificate documenting their pass/fail status for the CBT.

SOCP is distributing one copy of the CBT at no cost to all U.S. maritime training academies and other mariner training facilities, maritime labor unions, and owners and operators of all U.S.-flag vessels in ocean, coastwise, Great Lakes, inland, harbor, offshore, small passenger, dredging and other industry segments. Additional copies may be obtained by visiting the “products” link on the SOCP website.

The SOCP is a non-profit group comprised of business, government, education and the workforce. The industry-led cooperative is made up of like-minded individuals from the maritime community to explore challenges facing the U.S. maritime industry and discovering solutions in the areas of safety, security, regulations, environmental protection and workforce development.

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.