Cyber Security – New IACS Recommendations Published


( The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) has published 9 (nine) of its 12 (twelve) recommendations on cyber safety with the aim of enabling the delivery of cyber resilient ships whose resilience can be maintained throughout their working lives.  These eagerly anticipated recommendations are the result of a long-term initiative from IACS that has benefited considerably from cross industry input and support. IACS recommendations result from extensive collaboration across industry and provide much needed guidance on how to develop and maintain the cyber integrity of vessels.

IACS initially addressed the subject of software quality with the publication of UR E22 in 2006.  Recognizing the huge increase in the use of onboard cyber-systems since that time, IACS has developed this series of Recommendations with a view to reflecting the resilience requirements of a ship with many more inter-dependencies.  As a result, the IACS Recommendations address the need for:

  • A more complete understanding of the interplay between ship's systems
  • Protection from events beyond software errors
  • In the event that protection failed, the need for an appropriate response and ultimately recovery.
  • In order that the appropriate response could be put in place, a means of detection is required.

IACS also recognized at an early stage that, in order for ships to be resilient against cyber incidents, all parts of the industry needed to be actively involved, and so convened a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Cyber Systems.  A significant part of the JWG work has been in identifying, best practice, appropriate existing standards in risk and cyber security and identifying a practical risk approach.  Consequently, the 12 IACS Recommendations, collectively, not only provide guidance on the most pressing areas of concern but work as building blocks for the broader objective of system resilience.

The IACS Chairman, Mr Jeong-kie Lee of the Korean Register, stated “These 12 Recommendations represent a significant mile-stone in addressing safety concerns related to cyber issues.  IACS focus on Cyber Safety reflects our recognition that cyber systems are now as integral a part of a ships safety envelope as its structure and machinery and IACS is committed to providing industry with the necessary tools as part of our wider mission to deliver safer, cleaner, shipping.”

Importantly, and noting the challenge of bringing traditional technical assurance processes to bear against new and unfamiliar technologies, IACS has launched these Recommendations in the expectation that they will rapidly evolve as a result of the experience gained from their practical implementation.  Furthermore, IACS recognizes that these Recommendations are only an ‘interim’ product and that they will be subject to amalgamation into a larger document with more consistent language, overlaps removed and common material consolidated.

Commenting on this approach, IACS Secretary General, Robert Ashdown, explained “The decision to publish these new materials as stand alone documents as Recommendations was made explicitly to give industry stakeholders access to the developing material.  IACS continues to make significant efforts to work ever more closely with industry and believes this approach provides the right balance between delivering the detailed guidance that is urgently required while remaining receptive to input from the industry stakeholders via JWG/CS on how they would like to see IACS proceed.”

IACS recognizes that the delivery of these important series of Recommendations is only the start in the ongoing struggle to maintain the cyber integrity of vessels. IACS remains confident, however, that the flexible and structured approach being adopted positions it well to further evolve and enhance these offerings, quickly and responsively, and in a manner which is practical and supportive of the needs of the largest number of industry stakeholders.

The 12 Recommendations are (click below links to access each document):

Rec NoTitleStatus
Rec 153Recommended procedures for software maintenance of shipboard equipment and systemsPublished
Rec 154Recommendation concerning manual / local control capabilities for software dependent machinery systemsPublished
Rec 155Contingency plan for onboard computer based systemsPublished
Rec 156Network ArchitecturePublished
Rec 157Data AssurancePublished
Rec 158Physical Security of onboard computer based systems[Target date Q4 2018]
Rec 159Network Security of onboard computer based systemsPublished
Rec 160Vessel System Design[Target date Q4 2018]
Rec 161Inventory List of computer based systemsPublished
Rec 162IntegrationPublished
Rec 163Remote Update / AccessPublished
Rec 164Communication and Interfaces[Target date Q4 2018]

Source: IACS


For more cyber-security related Guides and circulars, click here.



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