back to article IT at sea makes data too easy to see: Ships are basically big floating security nightmares

If there's anything worse than container security, it would appear to be container ship security. Ken Munro, a researcher for UK-based Pen Test Partners, has been exploring maritime satellite communication systems used to keep ships connected while at sea. His findings don't inspire much confidence. Munro, in a blog post today …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ship-owners think he is just "Being Difficult".

  2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Hmmmm ...

    Munro shouldn't be "rocking the boat" or else they'll "throw him overboard".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Die Hard: Offshore

    One could even throw in a Russian-accented Bad Guy who is at the same time military strategist, slav-tier hacker and a systema expert and who could give the main protagonist (played by some badass white guy to stay reasonably neutral in the marketing department, we don't want to cater exclusively to east asians, south asians or the urban market) trouble.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: Die Hard: Offshore

      Perhaps with an evil strategy to drive the container vessels into US war ships - though that might be a bit unbelievable even for Hollywood.

      1. Lysenko

        Re: Die Hard: Offshore

        They already released that movie this year, and the sequel.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Die Hard: Offshore

          They already released that movie this year, and the sequel.

          It's actually a series that's been going on for a couple of years.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Die Hard: Offshore

        The container ships wouldn't be able to ram US warships, no matter what orders were given, unless the US warships were fast asleep. It would be like a bull ramming a fox.

        1. John Doe 6

          Re: Die Hard: Offshore

          Safe distances at sea are far too small for the war ship to suspect a commercial vessel of malicious plans just because it is close by.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Die Hard: Offshore

            @John Doe 6

            Big ships are very slow at turning (even slower at stopping "turning"), there is no way to hit a "war ship" unless it's asleep or just looking the wrong way (probably just forward).

            They claim those Navy ships have only one crew member standing outside these days, and that can create a problem as standing on port side means you cannot properly see to the starboard side and vice versa. A very poor performance from those ships all the same.

            I am not all that surprised though, I have entered the bridge for my watch on a merchant ship with both guys fast asleep with just George at the helm.

            As for slow turning, a guy I knew told me about a (mad) prank he did to a mate he did not like. He took an oil tanker full circle in the Mediterranean in a starless night. It took him the whole four hour watch to do it without getting caught (hoping the captain would have a look at the voyage data recorder later).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Die Hard: Offshore

            A warship would normally stay well away from any other ships. Its officers cannot know in advance who has malicious intentions. This is absolutely basic.

            Moreover, warships are designed to be fast and agile. They should be able to leave any merchant ship far behind, and run rings around it. (Actually, even carriers could do that - they are very fast when they have to be).

        2. JassMan Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Die Hard: Offshore @ Archtech

          That's because the US warships are quite capable of ramming other ships or even stationary lighthouses which failed to move out of their way. The container ships don't need to ram, they just need to be in the vicinity of a US warship.

          There have already been 4 incidences in the last 12 months.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Die Hard: Offshore

          "The container ships wouldn't be able to ram US warships"

          See the links in Lysenko's comment posted an hour before yours. The foxes weren't taking notice.

        4. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

          Re: Die Hard: Offshore

          "On 2 October 1942, Queen Mary accidentally sank one of her escort ships, slicing through the light cruiser HMS Curacoa off the Irish coast with a loss of 239 lives."

          OK, Wikipedia and RMS Queen Mary was probably somewhat more agile than a modern container ship.

          1. Lars Silver badge

            Re: Die Hard: Offshore

            Re: HMS Curacoa. Interesting story, but the collision was the result of miss understanding the situation and Queen Mary was a fast ship, almost 30 knots. From the Wiki-

            "Commodore Sir Cyril G. Illingworth of Queen Mary continued their zig-zag pattern expecting the escort cruiser to give way........

            At 13:32, during the zig-zag, it became apparent that Queen Mary would come too close to the cruiser and the liner's officer of the watch interrupted the turn to avoid Curacoa. Upon hearing this command, Illingworth told his officer to: "Carry on with the zig-zag. These chaps are used to escorting; they will keep out of your way and won't interfere with you."[36] At 14:04, Queen Mary started the starboard turn from a position slightly behind the cruiser and at a distance of two cables (about 400 yards (366 m)). Boutwood perceived the danger, but the distance was too close for either of the hard turns ordered for each ship to make any difference at the speeds that they were travelling. Queen Mary struck Curacoa amidships at full speed, cutting the cruiser in half.".

            Do I spot a big ego problem there. And the "hard turns" after a ship has started to turn will need a "lot of time" before they have any effect.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Die Hard: Offshore

            That was wartime, and zig-zag at high speed was essential to try to avoid submarines torpedoes, while still navigating in a convoy formation. Add an old cruiser, a fast liner, a commander who was quite scared of U-Bootes, and troubles can arise quickly. What should be state-of-the-art destroyers should be able to evade a container ship navigating at its low cruising speed...

        5. Tom Paine

          Re: Die Hard: Offshore

          Perrow, Charles: 'Normal Accidents", https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Normal_Accidents.html?id=VC5hYoMw4N0C&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "evil strategy to drive the container vessels into US war ships"

        Or just put US warships on the container ship route, while the US crew is sleeping while on duty, or playing Tetris on the radar screens?

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Die Hard: Offshore

      Wasn't capsizing oil tankers via hacking the plot to Hackers?

      1. GnuTzu
        Thumb Up

        Re: Die Hard: Offshore -- Movie "Hackers"

        Yes indeed. Capsizing ships was one of two scenarios in the movie "Hackers" (having recently re-watched it on a lazy Saturday afternoon). One of the striking situational problems in the movie was the claim that they couldn't switch to manual ballast control--which put them at the mercy of the million dollar or so ransom. I have no idea how realistic that claim is.

  4. Uberseehandel

    How current is this?

    From time to time I work with systems on board race boats. Apart from the media and regatta management feeds, all communications to or from a boat, including telemetry and voice, is encrypted, all the time. This has been the case since the mid-80s. And that includes the team support boats as well.

    Seriously it isn't difficult. I cannot imagine that vessels such as LPG tankers are not using encrypted links. But the reality is that strange things happen. For a surprising amount of time, the Taliban used to watch the video feed from the drones that were spying on them. The issues of latency when using VPNs over satellite links are well understood these days.

    When the Kuznetsov was swanning around the Eastern Med and and whilst underway from and to its home port in Arctic Russia, it was always easy to find her, despite her AIS (Automatic Identification System) being turned off, her escorting tug usually left the AIS on. And if it wasn't the tug, it was one of the auxiliary support vessels. Perhaps everybody's matelots are a bit dim in this respect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How current is this?

      Or perhaps the Kuznetsov task group felt it had nothing to hide. The Americans can see pretty much everything with their satellites in any case.

      No one seriously intending to fight a modern war would put to sea in something as huge, cumbersome and defenceless as an aircraft carrier.

      1. Uberseehandel

        Re: How current is this?

        If the Russians didn't have anything to hide, why turn any of the AIS off, AIS is a safety system.

        Funny how the Brits, the US, the Chinese, the Indians, the Italians, the South Koreans and the Turks all have carriers currently under construction and Russia and Brazil have announced plans for further carriers. Without the required ships to make up a Carrier Strike/battle group, carriers are vulnerable. They are not "lone wolf" operators, they are deployed as part of a coordinated force.

        1. Tom Paine

          Re: How current is this?

          No defence against ballistic missiles. Carriers are dead, they just haven't noticed yet.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: How current is this?

            "No defence against ballistic missiles. Carriers are dead, they just haven't noticed yet."

            Large ballistic missiles tend to be used against fixed targets. Terminal guidance for a ballistic missile is tricky (hint: the term describes it's trajectory). Carriers move. Surprisingly quick for a weapon that takes a manner of minutes to get there. Trajectory makes it hard to stealth. How does an ASBM compensate for these differences and still go bang on target with enough force to ensure a carrier kill? Has it been demonstrated yet?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: How current is this?

              Large ballistic missiles tend to be used against fixed targets.

              That's true. The real missile threat to carriers is swarm attacks, or hypersonic anti-ship missiles. A swarm attack needn't have to overwhelm the defence radar systems by force of numbers - it merely needs to exhaust the (usually) cassette based missile defence systems, using relatively cheap, old tech missiles until the escort vessels are out. Hypersonic missiles are something where we've yet to see them proven in combat, but there's no convincing defence systems.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: How current is this?

                "A swarm attack needn't have to overwhelm the defence radar systems by force of numbers - it merely needs to exhaust the (usually) cassette based missile defence systems, using relatively cheap, old tech missiles until the escort vessels are out"

                But dumb missiles lends itself to "dumb" defenses like the Phalanx, which is gun-based so is much easier to keep stocked with ammunition and harder to evade since slugs are dumber then missiles (no tracking at all) yet can still fly PDQ and can come at the missile more from a head-on position, meaning the missile's speed won't matter as much (meaning it'll probably be as effective whether the missile comes at mach 1 or mach 5). It would be an interesting question whether a swam of Phalanxes could outlast a swarm of ASMs without something else happening like a retaliation strike of Tomahawks from the carrier group.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: How current is this? @ Charles 9

                  But dumb missiles lends itself to "dumb" defenses like the Phalanx, which is gun-based so is much easier to keep stocked with ammunition and harder to evade since slugs are dumber then missiles

                  Sorry, mate, you need to think more about the weapons and tactics, which was my point. Phalanx is a last ditch defence, because it is short range, max 2.2 miles. As fire controller for an escort ship, you'd want to knock out all incoming missiles as far away as possible, and only rely on the Phalanx at the last moment for missiles that get through your outer defences - don't forget that at short range you might hit the missile, but if you don't trigger the warhead, chances are still high that it will hit and detonate. Imagine you're weapons controller, you're looking at what might be a swarm attack, you've got two incoming missiles showing as doing 600+ knots. They might be ancient Exocets - but how confident would you be that Phalanx will get them? Would you hold back your anti-missile missiles. and risk a carrier by hoping that Phalanx will stop both, or even one? How would that play out afterwards if you got it wrong?

                  Now move on to the cream of the crop weapons, and think about the fact that although 4,500 rounds per minute sounds great, a Ruskie Zircon moves at 5,300 mph. How good is your radar, your gun control motors, your barrel accuracy etc? At those sorts of speed, meatsacks are out of the equation. You think that the head on angle helps? Nope, it's the tracking speed and accuracy that counts. Your Phalanx has about 1.5 seconds of firing time when the missile is in range, say 115 rounds spread across an assumed linear path of 2.2 miles. Chances are that it'll splash the water behind the missile a treat. Even if you score a hit, if the warhead doesn't detonate then you've got a (guessing) 2 tonne mass including something like a 300 kg warhead closing on your carrier at over a mile a second. Mass x velocity squared (with a warhead as well)......By the time any Tomahawks arrive to spread democracy in the world, the real sea battle would be long over. Now play out a more complex scenario where an adversary mixes a few hypersonic, supersonic, and subsonic missiles from different angles, to arrive at similar times. That needs a mere three weapons platforms - 3 aircraft, or 2 aircraft and one ship, or one aircraft and two missile boats etc. As your adversary I expend six missiles, and probably lose all three platforms - but you're down an 80,000 tonne aircraft carrier, and the aircraft that destroyed my weapons platforms don't have a carrier to come home to any more. And we haven't even discussed supercavitation torpedos, which amount to underwater missiles, nor maritime drones.

                  The day of the carrier as a ship of the line is over, just as the day of the dreadnought was over, as is the day of the battleship. Carriers are great for relief operations, for bombing third world nutcases, or showing the flag, but no use as a first rate military asset. Too big, too slow, too easy to hit.

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: How current is this? @ Charles 9

                    "Sorry, mate, you need to think more about the weapons and tactics, which was my point. Phalanx is a last ditch defence, because it is short range, max 2.2 miles."

                    Phalanxes are pretty small shipwise so can be put on many ships, INCLUDING the ships on the edge of your group. Heck, put a few on ALL the ships in your group and you have defense in depth.

                    "Now move on to the cream of the crop weapons, and think about the fact that although 4,500 rounds per minute sounds great, a Ruskie Zircon moves at 5,300 mph. How good is your radar, your gun control motors, your barrel accuracy etc?"

                    "Chances are that it'll splash the water behind the missile a treat."

                    Ever heard of LEADING the target? Targeting computers have been doing this since World War II and are much more capable now. Since in closing range a fast missile is unlikely to turn, it's actually easier to predict its path. It's not like a missile at Mach 5 can turn on a dime and maintain its structural integrity. You mention a missile's mass. A few hundred slugs of solid tungsten are no slouch, either.

                    "Now play out a more complex scenario where an adversary mixes a few hypersonic, supersonic, and subsonic missiles from different angles, to arrive at similar times."

                    Have a whole bunch of Phalanx units spread along your numerous screening ships. It's not like it has to be exclusive to the carrier. About the only way you can overwhelm a carrier group with Phalanxes all around would be to employ a Missile Massacre or to go nuclear, both of which have their own strategic problems (you're unlikely to stealth the former, raising the risk of being pre-empted, and only an omnicidal maniac would dare to let out the nuclear genie).

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: How current is this? @ Charles 9

                      Phalanxes are pretty small shipwise so can be put on many ships, INCLUDING the ships on the edge of your group. Heck, put a few on ALL the ships in your group and you have defense in depth.

                      To reiterate something you've overlooked, Phalanx have a range of just over 2 miles. In a battlegroup under combat conditions you'd have all the ships much further apart than that unless you want to present a nice, tight target to your enemy. You can scatter Phalanx onto your entire fleet like confetti, chances are only the target ship will see a high speed missile come within range of the Phalanx.

                      You are in denial. Almost 30 years ago the Cato Policy Institute concluded that the carrier battle group was an utterly outmoded means of offence, because so much of the force is there to protect itself. Its on the web, search it out, read it. The only thing that has changed is that UAV, missile and torpedo technology has advanced, and that weakens the case for a huge floating target.

                  2. CrazyOldCatMan

                    Re: How current is this? @ Charles 9

                    And we haven't even discussed supercavitation torpedos, which amount to underwater missiles, nor maritime drones.

                    Or tacnukes. Let's face it, if a big, bad enemy to the East of Europe[1] decides that it want's to get the RN/USN off the water and their swarm offense fails, there's always the nuke fallback.

                    [1] After all, there's plenty there. And some are just about gaining nuke capability.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "but there's no convincing defence systems."

                Why do you believe the US Navy is testing direct energy weapons? Light travels faster than an hypersonic missile....

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "but there's no convincing defence systems."

                  Light travels faster than an hypersonic missile....

                  Lets see them take down a hypersonic missile in combat-representative conditions with a laser. I'll believe that when I see it. If you had a hypersonic sea skimmer, the laser control system has a whole 13 seconds to detect a tiny target a few feet above the sea after it appears over the horizon, get a fix, and put in sufficient energy to destroy it. Actually, make that 10 seconds, because at short range you can hit the missile but it will hit the target anyway. If I might suggest, you seem to have unbounded optimism in people like DARPA.

                  1. LDS Silver badge

                    Re: "but there's no convincing defence systems."

                    Let me see first a working hypersonic missile in combat-representative conditions... also, I would also like to see something flying at very high speed in very dense air (skimming the surface).... first, it requires a lot of energy, second, a lot of that energy turns into heat.... also I would like to know what happens to the water in front of it due to the shock wave... you have unbounded optimism also....

                    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                      Re: "but there's no convincing defence systems."

                      "Let me see first a working hypersonic missile in combat-representative conditions... also, I would also like to see something flying at very high speed in very dense air (skimming the surface).... first, it requires a lot of energy, second, a lot of that energy turns into heat.... also I would like to know what happens to the water in front of it due to the shock wave... you have unbounded optimism also...."

                      There's also the fact the faster a missile flies, the harder it is to turn (matter of sheer inertia, a known issue in dogfights), meaning a faster missile is much easier to lead and track. Technologies like the Phalanx only need a few seconds, and even at 1 mile a second, it's going to take a few seconds for it to reach target from the radar's horizon (even longer with an AWACS deployed to extend that horizon).

                2. CrazyOldCatMan

                  Re: "but there's no convincing defence systems."

                  Light travels faster than an hypersonic missile

                  The current generation are nowhere near powerful enough to destroy a missile swarm. The time required to kill one missile is still far, far too long.

          2. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: How current is this?

            Phalanx 4500 rounds per minute should kill it if it gets that far.

            If not there are plenty anti-missile missiles that should work

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How current is this?

          Funny how the Brits, the US, the Chinese, the Indians, the Italians, the South Koreans and the Turks all have carriers currently under construction and Russia and Brazil have announced plans for further carriers.

          An aircraft carrier is (to admirals and politicians) a big, floating codpiece. They think it makes them look big and hard, projects the idea of vast military strength, even though they've always been vulnerable.

          In WW2 26 aircraft & escort carriers were sunk out of about 125 actually in service. Since the majority were only commissioned in the period 1943-45, that's not very good odds. Now consider that there was no air to air refueling to extend land based aircraft range, radar was primitive, AEW non-existent, no homing or guided missiles, few homing torpedos, bombs were all dumb. Thinking what weapons are widely available now, and any realistic assessment would conclude that in the modern threat environment, aircraft carriers only have a use as a floating airfield against an enemy with no credible air force or sea power.

          1. YARR

            Funny how the Brits, the US, the Chinese, the Indians, the Italians, the South Koreans and the Turks all have carriers currently under construction and Russia and Brazil have announced plans for further carriers.

            Several of those nations have or are constructing helicopter carriers / landing ships, rather than aircraft carriers. Some such vessels can support V/STOL aircraft if their decks are built to withstand a downwards jet blast.

            In WW2 26 aircraft & escort carriers were sunk out of about 125 actually in service. Since the majority were only commissioned in the period 1943-45, that's not very good odds

            Have you compared this with the survival odds of other classes of ship in WW2? Besides, the purpose of a warship is to win the war. If sacrificial, their presence may allow a strategic war goal to be achieved. Many of those WW2 carriers were cheaply constructed (with poor survival odds) for this reason.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            "26 aircraft & escort carriers were sunk out of about 125"

            Most of US carriers were sunk at the beginning of the war, when they had inferior planes, and no battleship support (especially useful as heavy AA floating batteries), while Japan had good planes and highly trained pilots.

            As the war progressed, that changed. IIRC, no Essex-class carrier was sunk - only the far less protected escort ones - while of course Japanese carriers were, as they couldn't cope any longer as they lost skilled aviators, planes, and the other ships needed to protect the carriers.

            The battegroups formations were refined to protect the carriers, while the planes became the main attack weapon.

            The fact that radar were primitive, especially in the early years, and ASW as well, was a bonus for the attackers, not vice versa. UK carriers suffered from submarine attacks, and lack of good protection.

            Dive bombers were actually some kind of "homing bombs" - while battleship Roma was sunk by a a true homing bomb....

            Air refueling extend ranges, but also means much more time to reach the target - and less time on target - and tankers needs to be protected as well. Still, there is no way to reload weapons on air.

            It is true there are new anti-ship weapons, but there also new weapons to protect the carriers from they attackers. Actually, IMHO, the real weak spot of US carriers is again inferior planes, with too little range and interdiction capabilities.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How current is this?

            How could anyone possibly vote Ledswinger's comment down? Either there is a lot of wishful thinking going on, or personalities are creeping in.

          4. CrazyOldCatMan

            Re: How current is this?

            An aircraft carrier is (to admirals and politicians) a big, floating codpiece.

            As were dreadnauts (in their time). And WW1[1] conclusively proved that putting all your Naval budget into one big showpiece ship is a very, very bad idea. It also doesn't help when you skimp on the features of the ships for cost reasons and don't have the procedures to actually use them in battle in an effective and safe manner. Leaving ammunition hoist baffles open to speed up the gunnery is a pretty bad thing to do - a number of British ships were lost at Jutland after hits to the turrents caused a flashover into the magasines.

            [1] And to an extent WW2. The Germans had a plan for building up their navy that went into the late 1940's. Unfortunately for them, Hitler started the war in 1939, long before their pocket battleships had the required support ships. So their big ships (with a few exceptions) spent more time hiding in port, hoping that the RN/RAF wouldn't find them.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How current is this?

          All those countries have carriers under construction because they adhere to the US model: the "defence" industry is essentially a profit centre. It is assumed that defence is actually unnecessary, because there is no threat. (Although the politicians and the media keep talking up imaginary threats to keep the populace frightened and relatively willing to be milked).

          As is well known, the general (and admirals and especially politicians) are always well prepared for the last war. As that was in 1939, you can imagine their state of readiness in 2017.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan

            Re: How current is this?

            always well prepared for the last war. As that was in 1939

            A bunch of dead people in Korea, Vietnam and various parts of Africa and the Middle East might well disagree with you..

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: How current is this?

        Which is why in wartime they never put to sea without escorting vessels which screen it from incoming missiles, fire intercept missiles etc. etc.

        Which makes the UK's new planeless floating games fields absolute sitting ducks since Blighty doesnn't have enough escort vessels.

        Remember during the Falklands conflict Ark Royal etc had to sit so far SE of the islands as to out of range of Argentine aircraft that the Sea Harriers had feck all fuel over San Carlos Water to provide effective air cover. All the escorts were either full of troops needing to be landed or were escorting same.

        This is why the phrase Carrier Battle Group was coined.

        1. Troy Tempest

          Re: How current is this?

          Ark Royal was not involved in the Falklands war, being commissioned +3 years after the conflict.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          "Blighty doesnn't have enough escort vessels."

          If UK thinks to sustain a war alone against a capable enemy, of course. Within NATO, there are enough escort vessels.

      3. Tom Paine

        Re: How current is this?

        Indeed. http://exiledonline.com/the-war-nerd-this-is-how-the-carriers-will-die/all/1/

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: How current is this?

          @Tom Pain. Better not start a war with China then and apparently there are no good reasons to be disturbed if they should decide to build a few carriers too as they are so worthless.

          On a more serious note, a carrier is a movable airfield so what would be the alternative if you feel you need one.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How current is this?

          Full of choice bits - although there's nothing there that any reasonably well-informed citizen shouldn'have known for years.

          My favourite bit is this:

          '“The purpose of the Navy,” Vice Admiral John Bird, commander of the Seventh Fleet, tells me, “is not to fight.” The mere presence of the Navy should suffice, he argues, to dissuade any attack or attempt to destabilize the region'.

          Yes, "John Bird"! This coot is actually called "John Bird"!! John Fortune was probably interviewing him.

          "The mere presence of the Navy should suffice... to dissuade any attack or attempt to destabilize the region".

          Yeah, just as the mere presence of "Prince of Wales" and "Repulse" dissuaded the Japanese from invading Malaya and capturing Singapore.

          The Japanese didn't even break stride: they just sank them and kept right on going. Their troops on the beaches and in the jungle didn't even know the British ships had ever been there.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: How current is this?

      "From time to time I work with systems on board race boats. Apart from the media and regatta management feeds, all communications to or from a boat, including telemetry and voice, is encrypted, all the time."

      Is that just because everyone is generally very security concious or is it because in the world of racing technology there's a long history of very high levels of competition and spying on each others developments?

      I would suggest that in the shipping world, the levels of security conciousness is at about the same level as in the rest of the business world. i.e, very low at the levels where budgets are allocated.

    3. Tom Paine

      Re: How current is this?

      Spoiler alert: encrypting data in transit does /not/ mean you can't be hacked.

    4. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: How current is this?

      VPN latency is not the issue.

      Data over satcomms is expensive, so huge compression is used and minimal data is sent/recieved.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Pirate

    Just too smiple for words.

    He's right.

    This is not "hacking" as any real hacker would know it.

    It's just blatant stupidity on an industrial scale driven by a)Laziness and b)A complete failure to understand that these these assets (and they are $10s if not 100s of $m to build) have "stuff" on board people would like to get their hands on

    "Avast there you scurvy dogs, prepare to be boarded and taste a lick of the cat. Yo, ho, ho"

    Remember kids IRL actual piracy was no fun for the crews being boarded.

    1. Commswonk

      Re: Just too smiple for words.

      Smiple?

      Does not compute, Captain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just too smiple for words.

        "Smiple?

        Does not compute, Captain."

        Kames prefect snese.

  6. Chairman of the Bored

    Racing boat technology

    Why are racing boats so well equipped? "The difference between the men and the boys is the price of their toys." When I was a younger man I blew my $ on the boats and toys. Healthier than a crack habit, but definitely not cheaper. For some reason the kids want to go to college so Im turning my money gun away from the boats. *Sob*

    In my professional life Ive been intimately familiar with the bridges of many large, grey painted hulls. Working for the world's largest operator of fast planes, big ships, and violent men has given me a fair amount of hands-on at sea time. The gear is crap, the configuration worse, systems engineering nonexistent... yet oddly enough the price is beyond dear. If you know why ... you are a wiser man than me. Suspect the multinationals that own and operate container ships have the same dysfunctional organizations that give rise to terrible ICS implementation. How to fix? Who the hell knows.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. N2

    It looks like you are sinking...

    Would you like me to help with that?

  9. john.jones.name

    KVH

    no surprise it was a KVH box

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In William Gibson's "Spook Country" I remember the container terminal being hacked so that the Container Of Interest would be on top of the on-shore stack and reachable by the protagonists.

    Not on-ship hacking but close enough.

    Additionally, I can't believe that this novel, written 2007, was considered "a classic paranoid quest narrative", none of it is particularly paranoid in view of current "events". Indeed it would probably be on page 6 or so of a newspaper. The devolution during the last 10 years has been steep indeed.

  11. 0laf
    Childcatcher

    Ken must have run out of smart dongs and dildos to hack

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