By Corey D. Ranslem
Trying to predict what is going to happen with technology and the future is always risky. Technological advancements are happening rapidly, and change is going to be the new normal for the foreseeable future. Major advances in cybersecurity have been made in the past few years, however hackers are also using these advances in technology to their advantage. A day doesn’t go by that you don’t hear about a major organization or government agency succumbing to an attack and loss of data.
The future of cybersecurity is interesting when you look at some of the advances in technology, computing, and specifically communications technology in the maritime industry. Advances in satellite communications are going to be a big catalyst for improving cybersecurity for large yachts. Currently many cybersecurity tools are constrained by the bandwidth of satellite communications. Most cybersecurity companies have solutions that work great for land-based companies, but don’t work onboard large yachts because of bandwidth constraints. Increased bandwidth will improve several operations onboard the large yacht, not just cybersecurity capabilities (see our companion story on satellite communications).
Technology advances will also help improve cybersecurity. As machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence improve, so will the capabilities of detection of threats. This technology has a long way to go, but incremental advances will make big differences in cyber defense. As these technologies improve, it will be much easier to deploy them to vessel networks to better seek out active threats on the vessel’s IT and OT networks. Major technological advances are already happening in the protection of OT systems. OT systems can be difficult to protect and sometimes provide easy access for hackers. Cybersecurity experts see the potential of deploying “cyber-bots” into the internet to seek out and eliminate cyber threats.
Finally, the biggest advances will take place with the widespread use and introduction of quantum computing technology. We are still years out from the day to day use of quantum computers, but their use will completely change the landscape of not just cybersecurity, but how we operate in our day to day lives. Quantum computing will potentially help reduce the human input into system protection.
With all these advances in cybersecurity, there will be equal advances in the tools hackers use to gain access. Crew training is going to continue to be an important part of our cybersecurity defences.