Captain Alex Soukhanov profile picture

Captain Alex Soukhanov

Master Mariner and Director at Moran Cyber

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

We had a chance to ask Captain Alex Soukhanov, Master Mariner and Director at Moran Cyber, about working with Tempered and a leading cruise ship line to microsegment their infrastructure w/o having to dry dock their ships. The interview was a key part of the recent IIoT Microsegmentation at Sea case study.

Q: What was it that encouraged you to go with Tempered when it came to this maritime security challenge?

A: Tempered Networks provided us with a solution that was tested and vetted by an owner and operator of a large fleet of ships. Tempered’s solution filled an immediate need to mirco-segment networks that were flat by design, and control accesses by multiple vendors. This is primarily for safety reasons in order to protect highly sensitive marine systems from cyber threat, and to mitigate unnecessary maritime risk to life, property, and the environment.

Q: What kinds of cyber security challenges do you have to address aboard ship?

A: Cybersecurity challenges in maritime are unique because of the manner of integration and management of technologies, procurement, and security practices. The spectrum of cyber maturity in the maritime industry is vast and inconsistent, most are below average. Companies are short on technical capability to manage, and have little or no cybersecurity budget, let alone the organic human capital.

Cruise ships require persistent connectivity required for recreation, financial transaction processing, healthcare operations, customer data, and ICS control systems for navigation. All compelling targets for cyber attacks.

Vessels are largely dependent on third parties for support, primarily because they’re mobile.

But these are also the largest moving objects in the world, and with more and more systems connected to the internet for visibility and optimization reasons, the risk of exposure to cyber breaches also increases if security isn’t prioritized.

IIoT Microsegmentation in the maritime industry

Q: With the recent Coast Guard Cyber Threat Advisory and global cyber tensions heating up what advice would you give to maritime shipping executives?

A: First, establish a baseline to understand (“identify”) your assets and networks, and the people and processes as they relate to cybersecurity. The assessment is the basis of all strategies. Tempered is a superior technology solution if you deem it necessary to implement new or a higher level of network segmentation, particularly if your previous design leaves critical systems exposed and unprotected. This is really important if you operate vessels, because the source of the cyber-attack doesn’t matter – no one belongs in these systems unless they’re controlled and authorized. This is a safety matter with far-worse consequences than simple data loss. Tempered Networks offers the best solutions that is relevant to our industry and cost effective.