Ports need to better protect themselves against cyber-attacks, attendees of the first digital International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) European region meeting were told.
The theme of the meeting was cyber security and digital trust. Jens Meier, IAPH vice president for the European region and CEO of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), focused on raising cybersecurity awareness. Discussions centred on the need for ports to secure their organisations more effectively to avoid cyberattacks and to ensure a better response against them.
While looking at the actual cybersecurity risk, the targeted attack against the Port of Barcelona in September 2018 was analysed, alongside broader aspects of cyber-resilience such as challenges and possible remediation from the leadership role perspective.
Mr Meier summarised the current trends in cyberattacks and talked about the measures that Hamburg Port Authority has taken. He declared: “If we want to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalisation, we must manage the cyber-risks involved and thus ensure digital trust. Protection starts with people. Regardless of the methods of attack – e-mail, cloud applications, web, or social media – attackers are increasingly taking advantage of the human factor. That’s why the approach to cybersecurity should be centred around people.”
More risk now
He noted that changes to working life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it all the more important to be vigilant about the threat of cyber-attacks. “Remote working as a result of the pandemic is another contributory factor to a business’s vulnerability to cyberattacks.”
Catalina Grimalt, deputy general manager of organisation and internal resources at the Port of Barcelona, also spoke about the port’s developments post cyber-attack. “We have learned to improve on safety”, said Catalina Grimalt. “We were attacked, thus we are aware of the seriousness of this issue. We have been working hard on cybersecurity, implementing different security procedures and our systems are supervised by three different authorities. The most important thing we learned is that the port is not only responsible for its own cybersecurity, but also for the cyber-resilience of the whole supply chain, so we have to build up the resilience of all our ports.”