zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pxhere under CC0 Creative Commons license This week’s cyber attack on Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro is a sign of the growing threat facing firms within the maritime and ocean industries, according to Per Martin Tanggaard, Director of Nor-Shipping.On Monday, Norsk Hydro computer systems were initially hit by the comparatively new LockerGoga virus. It then spread through the firm’s network encrypting files.As a result, the company, which employs some 36,000 people in 40 countries, was forced to halt production in several plants, switching to increased manual operations to bypass problems connecting to its production systems. LockerGoga works by demanding payment for the decryption of infected files.“This is yet another wake up call for industry, and particularly for the maritime segment,” Tanggaard commented.“Shipping has been comparatively slow to join the digital revolution, but now that it has developments are moving fast, with ever increasing automation, connected operations and the move towards autonomy. It is absolutely essential that firms don’t just see the opportunities inherent here, but also the threats,” he pointed out.Tanggaard further said that shipping and ocean industry firms — which have large and expensive assets, infrastructure and cargoes — should have strategies to counter risk. He also mentioned cyber attacks that happened in the past two years, involving companies such as Maersk, COSCO, Austal as well as ports such as San Diego and Barcelona.“Cyber security should be top of the agenda for all businesses, big and small. If a company with Norsk Hydro’s resources, expertise and systems is susceptible to attack, then everybody is. Be aware,” Nor-Shipping’s Director warned.In June, Nor-Shipping is organizing Ocean Leadership Conference which will tackle issues including the evolving threat landscape and devising effective cyber strategies. The conference will be held in the Thon Hotel Arena Lillestrøm, Norway, as part of Nor-Shipping 2019, a maritime event attracting key industry players.