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THALES . Digital Technologies and Cybersecurity in naval applications

Hacker attacks against ships onboard infrastructure are no more a bad dream scenario but happen regularly, often even without being detected. Navies and their crews are faced with a new dimension of silent and hybrid threats, which they never realized before.

Prior to the implementation of countermeasures after an incident, the crew has to have the means to monitor the vital infrastructure and to detect a potential threat. In general, there are a few typical risk environments, which require automated and uninterrupted real-time monitoring to be best prepared for countermeasures. Artificial Intelligence (AI) based data analysis as well as human factors determine the level of risk mitigation against cyberattacks in current and future ship operations. The key component of this monitoring system is an automatic monitoring device that detects potential incidents (indicators of compromise) in real-time. The system is completely self-sufficient and can be used in conjunction with a CSOC (Cyber Security Operation Center) located on-shore.

The system’s focus is to analyze the detected results in the submarine with the existing staff members and without the need for an onboard team of cyber experts. The reporting of the monitoring system should be easy to analyze and should show the impacts of incidents and means to restore capabilities.

The Thales Malware Detection and Analysis System automatically scans the outbound traffic for anomalies, fully non-reactive. Even attacks in the past are detected when the system is activated.

Conventional network security tools mainly monitor inbound traffic only (via sandbox, firewalls, antivirus, etc.). The Thales malicious threat detection solution focuses solely on outbound traffic monitoring and identifies which of the installed classic security devices such as firewalls may not provide adequate protection.

Thales Malware Detection System consists of two components: The 'Probe', which is located in the network segments and the central analyzing system, which is connected to the ship's IT network.

The Thales probe extracts metadata from network traffic (mirrored / SPAN data) and transmits it to the analyzing platform. The Thales architecture detects malicious content or data constellations that indicate an attack by verifying the network traffic in real-time for all outbound communication with the Internet.

Thales Malicious Threat Detection focuses on the characteristics of outbound communication of malware or bots that has installed itself on devices and networks. This method provides an accurate overview of advanced or targeted attacks (Advanced Persistent Threats = APTs) and malware that has entered the onboard network through firewall systems. An important exercise to be completed is to evaluate and discuss critical and potential attack scenarios. Some of a ships’s systems can be attacked directly, others through the Combat Management System. In times of pervasive digitalization and networking, a particularly prominent aspect of security playing an increasingly important role for ships including submarines is cybersecurity.

With regard to ship platforms, it is absolutely critical to prevent intruders from gaining access to the IT and connecting to sensors, effectors, and control systems. Private communication via the internet through smartphones or portable memory devices must be completely isolated from the communication infrastructure of the ship in order to avoid attacks such as contaminated mails or manipulated USB keys.

Attacks on warships carried out with comparatively little effort by states or organizations that do not own a single warship or any trained combat forces is becoming an increasingly likely scenario. Hacker attacks against ships onboard infrastructure are no more a bad dream scenario but happen regularly, often even without being detected. Navies and their crews are faced with a new dimension of silent and hybrid threats, which they never realized before.

Prior to the implementation of countermeasures after an incident, the crew has to have the means to monitor the vital infrastructure and to detect a potential threat. In general, there are a few typical risk environments, which require automated and uninterrupted real-time monitoring to be best prepared for countermeasures. Artificial Intelligence (AI) based data analysis as well as human factors determine the level of risk mitigation against cyberattacks in current and future ship operations.

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Media contact: Shoma Ferrari, shoma@globalsatellite.us, socialmedia@globalsatellite.us

To get more information about this topic:https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/germany/magazine/digital-technologies-and...

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