ABS to build virtual ship OT models for Singapore cyber research project

Classification society ABS is to build a series of virtual models of ship technology networks for cybersecurity research as part of a project led by the iTrust Centre for Research in Cyber Security at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), in collaboration with Singapore Polytechnic’s Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety (CEMS).

The Maritime Testbed of Shipboard Operational Technology (MariOT) Systems project will support a range of cybersecurity activities aiming to meet the challenges in the maritime industry’s push towards digitalisation, delivering what the partners call ‘the world’s first industrial-grade, cyber-physical platform’ combining shipboard OT systems with virtual simulation models.     

“We will build virtual models of ship OT systems using advanced multi-physics modelling and simulation,” said Dr Gu Hai, ABS Vice President and the Head of ABS’ Global Simulation Centre.

“These models will be combined with the physical testbed to be built in SUTD and the simulator in CEMS to offer a safe and realistic environment to understand, evaluate and implement effective measures to secure ship OT equipment. We are delighted to be part of the journey alongside SUTD and CEMS in strengthening the maritime industry’s resilience and awareness against cybersecurity risks.”

MariOT will be used to discover vulnerabilities in shipboard OT systems to support the development and validation of new cybersecurity technologies without disrupting vessel operations.

Additionally, the partners would like to see the new system provide other maritime professionals and students with an environment to conduct their own cybersecurity research, training and education.

“With increasing digitalisation and connectivity, modern ships will become more vulnerable to complex malicious cyberattacks,” said Daniel Zhang, Director of the CEMS at Singapore Polytechnic (SP).

“SP is honoured to contribute our maritime cybersecurity expertise to the partnership with ABS and the SUTD in developing the world’s first Maritime Ship Onboard Technology (MariOT) hybrid simulation testbed in response to this clear and present threat.”

“SP’s CEMS simulator platform will play an instrumental role in the success of the MariOT testbed in assessing our seafarers’ operational readiness to face and manage a cyber-intrusion on the ship with confidence.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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