Trio teams up on Canada’s Maritime Cyber Security Centre of Excellence

Polytechnique Montréal, Neptune Cyber and Davie Shipbuilding have launched a five-year R&D partnership focussing on cyber security for maritime critical infrastructure.

The partnership, which will create Canada’s Maritime Cyber Security Centre of Excellence, aims to develop and commercialize cyber security solutions for the maritime industry. 

“Getting such a partnership going, with the possibility of creating an innovation zone encompassing this hub of excellence on maritime cyber security along with with sectorial partners, constitutes a key step towards ensuring the national security and economic stability of Canada and of Quebéc,” José M. Fernandez, Eng., Professor at Polytechnique Montréal, commented.

The acceleration of digitization, automation and hyperconnectivity in the maritime domain has created new challenges for transport, cargo and naval ships as well port installations. All have become new targets for cyber criminals.

Remotely taking control of a navigation system, deficient geolocalization of a ship, hacking of communications systems, computer viruses and ransomware are just some of the attacks that could affect electronic and computer systems used in the management of maritime and port operations.

The maritime industry was hit by a number of cyber attacks in 2020, including those on CMA CGMMediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Hurtigruten and the UN maritime body International Maritime Organization IMO.

As of January 1, 2021, the IMO requires shipowners and operators to integrate the management of cyber risks in their security practices at the next annual validation of their IMO certification. It is the first-ever regulatory framework on cyber security in the maritime industry.

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“Cyber Security in the Maritime industry has not kept pace with the technology sector. Therefore, with the rapid advances in integrated and connected systems onboard ships, and the resulting risk of attack, there is an urgent need for a better way to be able to understand, model, and plan for the risks that the industry is facing now and into the future,” Gwilym Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at Neptune Cyber, said.

“This project is a great step in that direction and a demonstration of our long-term commitment to creating positive change.”

Neptune Cyber is a Canadian cyber security company based in Québec with international reach that works exclusively in the marine sector. 

Based in Levis, Québec, Davie is the first naval shipyard in Canada and delivers essential and specialized ships to government and commercial clients.

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is a technological university, and one of Canada’s largest engineering teaching and research institutions.