With global maritime trade of around 10.3 billion tonnes and some 23.6 million passengers annually, ports are clearly vital to trade and mobility in Europe. They rely on split-second timing and critical systems to run smoothly 24/7.
When things go wrong, the consequences can be dire for shipping operators, passengers, traders and the ports themselves. As more and more logistics, data and planning takes place on line, the risks of attack have grown to include cyber-threats and combined physical and digital attacks.
?Critical infrastructures like ports have advanced security mechanisms to protect them from both physical and cybernetic threats, but these systems are usually stand-alone with different people in charge,? explains Rafael Company, R&D Manager of Fundación Valenciaport, Spain. ?This means it?s hard to detect attacks of a combined nature, as warnings in one domain can be the first step of a sophisticated attack in the other.?
The EU-funded SAURON project he coordinates is developing tools to help port operators protect physical and digital infrastructure, as well as passengers, staff, workers and neighbouring communities. The work combines advanced holistic techniques, such as cyber-3D models and highly intuitive user interfaces, in threat prevention, detection and mitigation.
Last year?s WannaCry ransom-ware attack is a case in point. It affected more than 150 countries and shut down operations in some commercial ports, resulting in big losses. And shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk?s terminal operations were hit by a worldwide Petya cyber-attack.
Ports, as key logistics hubs, are exposed to multiple threats. Security departments struggle to juggle multiple sources of threats to cargo, passengers and infrastructure, and digital assets, such as servers, networks, and data.
The challenge facing port security services is to stop attacks, but not impede the flow of cargo or passengers unnecessarily. That balance has been helped by advanced detection and sensor technology, but with that has come more data, more screens, and generally more complex situation-awareness scenarios.
The Hybrid Situation Awareness (HSA) tools being developed by SAURON will integrate and analyse incoming data from CCTVs, fire alarms, intrusion detection systems and other sensors in real time and process it all using machine-learning and game theory techniques.
The HSA?s user-friendly visualisation tools will then help operators determine the threat, clearly showing combined and potential cascading effects from which critical, life-saving decisions ? affecting physical and digital infrastructure as well as people in and around the port ? can be made. The net result is safer, more resilient facilities capable of keeping cargo and people flowing smoothly in and out of Europe?s ports.
More information about the HSA system is presented in a new publication ?Hybrid architecture for securing critical maritime infrastructures?. The SAURON team has also been presenting its work to ports to show its potential and gather feedback from them as eventual end-users.
Critical infrastructure, like ports, face growing threats - both physical and cybernetic. In response, EU-funded researchers have developed novel 'hybrid' situation-awareness tools, including visualisation techniques for detecting, preventing, and mitigating the impacts of potential attacks.
SAURON: Ports prepared for combined physical-cyber attacks The ports, which are key logistics hubs, are exposed to multiple threats. The security departments strive to control numerous causes of risks for goods, passengers, infrastructures and information systems. The challenge they face is to prevent, act and minimize any threat. In this context comes SAURON, a project funded by the European Union under the H2020 program, coordinated by the Valenciaport Foundation and together with S2 Grupo and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), which provides ports with a holistic security system advanced combining physical-cybernetic threats through advanced information and visualization systems.
This workshop brought together several research teams from all across Europe that currently collabotate in other european projects also related with the protection of critical infrastructures such as MITIGATE, SPARKS, or HYRIM.Press
A new EU project aims to ensure an adequate level of both physical and cyber protection for European ports and to limit, as far as possible, the detrimental effects of combined physical and cyber-attacks.
On 30th and 31st May, the Port of Valencia hosted the kick-off meeting of the SAURON project (scalable multidimensional situation awareness solution for protecting European ports), coordinated by Fundación Valenciaport and co-financed by the European Commission through the H2020 programme.