Nir Ayalon, CEO and Co-Founder of Cydome, talks about the unique cybersecurity challenges of shipping companies and how Cydome helps secure their digital future.

Tell us about Cydome and how you founded it?

When we established Cydome in 2018, we realized that while the maritime industry has a crucial role in the global economy and is undergoing an essential digital transformation – from a cybersecurity perspective, it lacked solutions that answer its specific needs. Ships have unique devices, protocols, and usage patterns; connectivity can be minimal, and no IT people are onboard. That’s very different from an office or factory environment – what most solutions are designed for.

How do you see the Greek market as part of your strategy?

Greece is one of the most important shipping hubs in the world, and we have many users here. There is a huge change in Greek companies at the moment, as they are undergoing a rapid digitalization process, and we are providing them with a secure backbone for this. So, we are proud to have received the Cyber Security Award for 2024!

What are the main trends you see with maritime cybersecurity today?

I think 2024 is a turning point for maritime cybersecurity, with a perfect storm combining multiple factors:
First, cyber attacks keep increasing the threat landscape. Our research found that in the last months of 2023, a maritime company was attacked every three days! New vulnerabilities are found practically every day in many common routers, firewalls, and remote access systems.

Second is the massive adoption of Starlink and other LEO services that significantly increase bandwidth – sometimes 100 times over, enabling new digital use cases – as well as new connectivity for crew that is harder to manage;

Third, new regulations come into force, such as IACS Unified Requirements UR E26/E27, that mandate shipping companies to strengthen cybersecurity and, in the case of NIS2, even impose personal liability on the managers of the companies,

Last but not least, there’s increased pressure for digitalization to improve safety, lower emissions, and improve operational efficiency.
Cydome helps navigate these changes, and our mission is to provide our customers with a secure platform to accelerate the adoption of new digital use cases without the need to build security around each device and use case in silo.

Everyone’s talking about AI these days; how do you see the impact of AI on shipping companies?

There is no doubt that AI is bringing huge change and value to the maritime ecosystem and to shipping companies. The ability to analyze vast amounts of data and bring insight to such a market will unveil, with time, challenges and solutions. Problems like optimization of routes and navigation, predictive maintenance, decarbonization, supply chain visibility, and compliance automation are just a fraction of the areas where we will see ML and AI in general in the future.
Cybersecurity-wise, we use AI and ML (machine learning) for threat analysis and anomaly detection among other things.
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