Cybersecurity risk assessment subjects in information flows


  • Jouni Pöyhönen University of Jyväskylä



A modern society includes several critical infrastructures in which digitalization can have positive impacts on the levels of autonomy and efficiency in the use of infrastructure systems. Maritime transportation is an example of an infrastructure that currently needs development in the digitalization of its operations and processes. At the same time, maritime processes represent a large-scale cyber environment, thus trustable information distribution between system elements of the processes is needed. Since 2020, the Sea4Value / Fairway (S4VF) research program in Finland has been working to develop maritime digitalization which can lead to autonomy processes in the future. The first stage of the program has led to a demonstration phase of remote fairway piloting. This remote fairway piloting process, “ePilotage,” is a complex system-of-systems entity. In this entity, fairway systems, ship systems and control center systems are the main processes from the operational point of view. Remote pilotage operations need support processes such as vessel traffic service (VTS) and weather forecast services. Situation awareness from other vessels and the stakeholder’s processes are also essential information for the entire piloting operation. In this context, a new concept of information flows at the technical level will be based partly on cloud servers. In this paper, a cybersecurity risk assessment has been carried out at the technical level of information and communication technologies (ICT), and it concerns information transmission between a ship and a cloud server. It describes the most important topics for a comprehensive risk assessment in a specific ship-to-cloud information flow of the fairway process. The findings of the study can be considered good examples of the management of cybersecurity risks in critical information flows between all main system blocks of the fairway process. The research question is as follows: “How can the cybersecurity risks of information flows in a system-of-systems entity be described and evaluated?” The main findings are related to the risks of transmitting information from a ship to a cloud server. The methodology that has been used is based on analyzing the probabilities of cyberattacks occurring in relation to the probabilities to defend against these actions. The main risk assessment topics have been listed.