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Gary Kessler Associates

Maritime Cybersecurity

The Maritime Transportation System (MTS) is composed of a system of systems, comprising port operations, cargo and passenger shipping lines, manufacturing, vessel traffic control, and the vessels themselves. The maritime industry — representing a mode of transportation as old as recorded human history — has one foot in ancient tradition and the other foot in the use of the most modern technologies, including autonomous vessels and the integration of operational technology with maritime information systems. The MTS is used by all sectors of boaters, sailors, and mariners and includes merchant mariners, commercial fishing fleets, military and public safety, and recreational boaters, as well as an integrated network of aids-to-navigation, communication, situational awareness, and tracking.

The MTS is incredibly complex and that is the root of some of the issues that the industry has with managing cybersecurity. More importantly, the industry has yet to fully acknowledge and own cybersecurity as a safety issue, and most organizations do not yet recognize their role in managing cyber issues.

As a subject of interest, maritime cybersecurity combines Gary's 40-plus year involvement in information security with his lifelong love of the sea. Gary has been teaching cybersecurity at the college/university level for more than 20 years (including a sabbatical at the USCG Academy), has been a certified SCUBA diver since his teens (and also an instructor), and holds a 50 GT near coastal master merchant mariner certificate (MMC). He is on the board of strategic advisers of the Maritime & Port Security Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (MPS-ISAO), active with National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) standardization, and engaged in cybersecurity activities at the national level of the USCG Auxiliary.

GKA is actively engaged in teaching, consulting, and making presentations about maritime cybersecurity at a number of venues; he offers everything from short maritime cyber awareness presentations to multi-day seminars. He is also actively engaged in research related to the Automatic Identification System (AIS); additional information can be found on his "AIS Research Using A Raspberry Pi" page and AIS Tools section on his software page.

Here are some of Gary's maritime cybersecurity papers and articles:

»   Kessler, G.C., & Shepard, S.D. (2022). Maritime Cybersecurity: A Guide for Leaders and Managers, 2nd. ed.
»   Loomis, W., Singh, V.V., Kessler, G.C., & Bellekens, X. (2021, October). RAISING THE COLORS: Signaling for Cooperation on Maritime Cybersecurity. Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council.
»   Zorri, D.M., & Kessler, G.C. (2021, September 8). Cyber Threats and Choke Points: How Adversaries are Leveraging Maritime Cyber Vulnerabilities for Advantage in Irregular Warfare. Modern War Institute at West Point.
»   Kessler, G.C. (2021, September). The CAN Bus in the Maritime Environment - Technical Overview and Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities. TransNav, The International Journal on Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation.
»   Hack The Sea 3.0 Village/DEF CON 29 (2021)
»   Kessler, G.C., & Zorri, D. (2021). Cross Domain IW Threats to SOF Maritime Missions: Implications for U.S. SOF. Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) Report 21-4. MacDill Air Force Base (FL): The JSOU Press.
»   Kessler, G.C., & Shepard, S.D. (2020). Maritime Cybersecurity: A Guide for Leaders and Managers.
»   Hack The Sea 2.0 Village at DEF CON 28 (2020)
»   Kessler, G.C. (2020, June). Protected AIS: A Demonstration of Capability Scheme to Provide Authentication and Message Integrity. TransNav, The International Journal on Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation, 14(2), 279-286. DOI: 10.12716/1001.14.02.02.
»   Mraz, R., Kessler, G.C., Gold, E., & Cline, J.G. (2020, April). Enhanced Iceberg Information Dissemination for Public and Autonomous Maritime Use. International Journal of Transport and Vehicle Engineering, 14(4).
»   Kessler, G.C. (2019, Spring). Cybersecurity in the Maritime Domain. Proceedings of the USCG Marine Safety & Security Council, 76(1), 34-39.
»   Kessler, G.C. (2018, October 12). Cybersecurity and the Return-on-Negligence. The Maritime Executive Online. Retrieved from https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/cybersecurity-and-the-return-on-negligence
»   Kessler, G.C., Craiger, J.P., & Haass, J.C. (2018, September). A Taxonomy Framework for Maritime Cybersecurity: A Demonstration Using the Automatic Identification System. TransNav, The International Journal on Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation, 12(3), 429-437. DOI: 10.12716/1001.12.03.01
»   Kessler, G.C. (2017, November 8). Web Site Security for Seaports and Shipping Lines. The Maritime Executive Online. Retrieved from https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/web-site-security-for-seaports-and-shipping-lines