Middle East shipping faces growing cybersecurity, GPS jamming risks

Middle East shippers, under threat of GPS interference and cyberattacks, are advised to consider alternative navigation techniques

CIO | Middle East  >  Yemen  >  Socotra island  >  Gulf of Aden  >  Arabian Sea
ZNM / Getty Images

As geopolitical tensions mount in the Middle East, so too are concerns that shippers in the region will soon be subjected to GPS interference and cyberattacks.

The shipping industry, historically slow at adopting new technologies, is in the midst of a digital transformation. The introduction of the internet in the 1990s gave impetus to the adoption of new technology, including implementation of GPS (Global Positioning System), a satellite navigation system set up originally by the U.S. Government for military purposes. 

From helping vessels navigate crowded sea routes to allowing the tracking and mapping of oil spills in the middle of the ocean, GPS has now become ubiquitous in the global maritime industry -- so much so that a 30-day loss of the satellite-based navigation system could cost the industry up to $14.6 billion, according to a recent study by RTI International.

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