A recent report released by the British Ports Association and Astaara, a risk management firm based in the U.K., concludes that since February 2020, the maritime industry has seen a dramatic increase in cyber-attacks. The number of attacks has quadrupled, as companies struggle with COVID-19 and remote work forces.

According to the report, in what is suspected to be a state-sponsored attack, the computer systems of a port facility in Iran were attacked, causing traffic jams and disruption in operations.

In addition to state-sponsored attacks on maritime facilities, cyber-criminals are targeting the maritime industry as maritime companies transition from on-premises to work from home due to the coronavirus. The report points out that remote working is a major risk for security because the attack surface has expanded, making it harder to secure company assets and data.

The report reminds the maritime industry that it is under attack, is vulnerable to attack due to remote work of employees, and to practice basic cyber-hygiene. “Processes need to be continually reviewed and updated as necessary, training provided, and new approaches to monitoring assessed and adopted.”