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DSME’s Shipboard Cybersecurity System Achieves ABS Approval

Image source: DSME

Posted on October 5, 2021 at 10:12 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) plans to help shipowners boost their cybersecurity readiness after gaining certification for a new smart ship solution.


As cases of cyberattacks in the maritime industry increase, the South Korean shipbuilder has announced plans to start installing its DSME Smartship (DS4) solutions in ships after gaining approval from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).


DS4 is designed to protect ship data and software from hacking and will be installed in over 30 ships. With approval, DSME can install the solutions in vessels without additional cybersecurity assessment.


“We believe this certification will serve as a cornerstone to push forward the era of autonomous ships,” said Choi Dong-kyu, director of DSME’s R&D institute.


DSME will become the first shipbuilding company to earn ABS Product Design Assessment (PDA) certification in cybersecurity.


South Korea is determined to be a world leader in the development of autonomous ships. The technology had been touted as the next generation of high-value vessels, designed to replace crew decision-making with intelligent, autonomous systems through the convergence of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data and sensors.


However, the push towards smart ships faces the risks of cyberattacks. Globally, cases of cyberattacks targeting shipping companies, port authorities and port infrastructure are on the rise. DSME itself was targeted in June, when hackers attempted to break into the company’s computer systems.


Ransomware attacks on shipping companies tripled between 2019 and 2020, with the world’s four largest shipping companies – Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company, CMA CGM and COSCO – all falling victim in the past four years.


MSC suffered a network outage in April 2020 following a malware attack, while CMA CGM suffered a ransomware attack in September 2020. Even the International Maritime Organization was recently the target of a cyberattack, forcing some of its services offline.


“To date, most cyber incidents involving shipping have been incidents on land, such as attacks on ports and shipping companies themselves. and Allianz’s Shipping Review 2021 report.