GTMaritime is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year as a specialist provider of solutions and services that ensure vessel compliance and business operability year-round whilst at sea. Over 4,500 ships transporting goods worldwide across the Atlantic and Pacific use GTMaritime technology for communications that bridge the enormous gap between the ship and the shore.
With sailors and crew away at sea months at a time, communications for not only business, but also keeping crew in touch with their friends and family are vitally important to be kept up and running with no disruptions.
As the shipping vessel customers don’t have dedicated IT staff on hand at sea, GTMaritime offers a remote service to customers, but any break in communications could spell trouble. With GTMaritime aiming to be on the cutting edge with its communications software, it could see that cyber security was becoming increasingly important, with the likes Maersk being affected by a cyber-attack which cost the company an estimated £300m.
“We realised that cyber security had to be at the forefront of protecting our customers as it is critical to keeping our services uninterrupted,” said Jamie Jones, Head of Service at GTMaritime. “We already provided antivirus and a number of solutions to address security issues like encryption, but the Maersk incident was at the moment we knew we were going to have to step it up another level.”
Not wanting to be made an example of, GTMaritime decided to actively seek out new vendor partners for security offering the most innovative and future-proof security technology. To begin with, Jones analysed the threats affecting shipping organisations and attended exhibitions and conferences to evaluate potential vendors, including FireEye and a few others that used Lastline advanced malware protection technology as part of their solutions.
Jones was impressed with Lastline's results in an NSS Labs group test that showed it was the only company to achieve the highest possible score for security effectiveness for two years running. Lastline's detection engine and Deep Content Inspection technology powers all Lastline products with a unique approach that provides 100% visibility into all malware activity.
Ultimately, Lastline stood out as the absolute leader in the field and GTMaritime made the decision to incorporate it into its own software solutions as part of its Advanced Threat Protection offering.
Jones added: “We found our customers actively engaging in conversations around cyber security and it became more and more a major part of discussions. By then, we'd incorporated Lastline into our solution, so it was an easy discussion to have knowing the value that Lastline provided and we had tangible benefits to show them."
In fact, during one month alone, Jones said that while traditional anti-virus fended off around 15,000 viruses, 150 slipped through standard protection and were subsequently defended with its Advanced Threat Protection service using Lastline technology.
Threats detected by Lastline included malware designed to steal credentials, steal confidential information, deliver a SWIFT lure to compromise banking, and deliver a Remote Access Trojan. This provided real substance to the service, as it only takes one threat to evade defences and wreak havoc on a computer network. The result could be even more catastrophic for a remote location like a ship at sea.
Jones explained: "While 150 threats in and of itself doesn't sound like a huge number, you have to think that these are all threats making their way out to vessels. If you were in an office on a computer and a threat was identified, you could call up your IT guy; but vessels don't have the same specialist IT assistance onboard to help. If that threat were to break communications, it is one of the worst possible things that could happen on a ship. If you can't communicate as you're headed towards US coastal waters, for instance, you certainly won't be allowed to enter. It's a huge economic and social barrier not to be able to communicate at sea."
For GTMaritime, it's about constantly evaluating and updating the service to maintain value to customers and know it is actively preventing problems before they happen. Every customer is now protected (as of the end of April 2018) with Advanced Threat Protection, in most cases through the Lastline cloud infrastructure.
Jones finished: "There were no problems encountered, there was great engagement from the Lastline team and it slotted in nicely with our solution. The whole thing was pretty seamless. I would absolutely recommend Lastline; the team was so helpful along the way and it was a smooth and pleasant experience. GTMaritime’s Advanced Threat Protection with Lastline technology built in gives us the last line of defence that is crucial to keeping our customers’ communications safe from cyber attacks at sea."