British innovation counters cyber-pirates with defence system

Andy Cuff from CND with its 'box of tracks' that keeps superyachts cyber-safe at sea

Computer Network Defence has developed an award-winning ‘magic box’ named Osprey to safeguard superyachts from cyber-attacks.

Specifically designed to address the cyber threats faced by high net-worth individuals on their superyachts, the briefcase-sized appliance constantly monitors and reports threats to the 24/7 staff at Computer Network Defence’s headquarters in Corsham near Bath and its security centre on the Isle of Man.

With a focus on vessels lacking traditional infrastructure, Osprey provides cybersecurity for any sea-going vessel, not just superyachts.

The device was introduced at this year’s Dubai International Boat Show, where the increasing concern of boat operators about cyber-attacks was highlighted.

Andy Cuff, CND’s managing director, said: “Superyachts face specific threats over and above those that other maritime vessels face. Environmental, anti-wealth and political activists have superyachts in their sights, as do blackmailers, nation-states, hostage-takers and business competitors. There is also a community of amateurs who keep tabs on superyachts for a variety of purposes. These superyachts are like cities at sea, with a vast array of technology from GPS and electronic chart displays to information systems to communication devices.

“The crew and guests have their tech on board and the potential for hacks is huge unless the cyber-security is of an extremely high standard. We send our Osprey box to the superyachts and the crew simply plug them in and we configure them from our office. The boxes digitally hide themselves behind a next-generation firewall and are invisible to any hacker. They do not affect the other systems on board and manage their use of internet bandwidth on the vessels. We have miniaturised the Osprey as much as we can because space is limited – but they have plenty of power.”