Dubai-based Elcome International reports that it has created a new system to prevent viruses, malware or corrupted files from being introduced into ships’ navigational computers, using a protected USB 3.0 flash drive and custom software.
The system is locked down so as to make it impossible for infected files to be introduced into the ECDIS and other networked ship systems when uploading electronic charts and updates.
“A primary potential point of entry for shipboard cyber infections is downloads from shoreside networks,” said Kostiantyn Matvieiev, Elcome’s Senior Manager Charts and Publications.
“Electronic Nautical Charts (ENC), Notices to Mariners (NtM) and software updates are delivered to the ship by satellite links when underway or on a DVD when in port. A USB flash drive is generally used to load these files into the ECDIS computer.”
“If an off-the-shelf unprotected USB is used, it can potentially introduce corrupted files, which can spread throughout the ship’s interconnected network with devastating results.”
The Bridge Protect software automatically locks the flash drive with a low-level file system that leaves no empty memory space within the USB storage. The system can also be incorporated as part of the Safety Management System to assist in compliance with the IMO’s 2021 cyber security resolution, Elcome notes.