Author Identifiers

Dennis Bothur

ORCID: 0000-0002-9733-1601

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Security) Honours


School of Science

First Advisor

Craig Valli

Second Advisor

Guanglou Zheng


The maritime domain benefits greatly from advanced technology and ubiquitous connectivity. From “smart” sensors to “augmented reality”, the opportunities to save costs and improve safety are endless. The aim of this dissertation is to study the capabilities of smart ship systems in the context of Internet-of-Things and analyse the potential cybersecurity risks and challenges that smart technologies may introduce into this accelerating digital economy.

The first part of this work investigates the architecture of a “Smart Ship System” and the primary subsystems, including the integrated bridge, navigation and communication systems, networking, operational systems, and sensor networks. The mapping of the connected subsystems is fundamental to understand how the entire vessel can be protected in a cyber context. The Internet of Ships is formed by connecting the smart ship systems with maritime infrastructure. The major services that the “Internet of Ships” can provide are discussed and analysed, such as terrestrial services, ship-to-shore services, marine safety and navigation services, offshore services and satellite services. These services facilitate many layers of supply-chain functions and interactions that are instrumental to the success of the maritime industry.

The second part builds on the gained understanding of the issues emerging from the digital transformation of seafaring. It introduces cybersecurity concepts and how these apply to the maritime domain. Then it outlines the threat sea-scape and gives guidance for a solid security program. A “Defence-in-Depth” cyber security resilience approach is proposed to protect the smart ship systems and the Internet-of-Ships with multi-layer measures, including security policies and procedures, physical security, perimeter security, network and host security, application security and data security. The most susceptible elements of the maritime sector are people – as target and as tools – for an attack. An improved appreciation of complexity of connected maritime systems along with a heightened cybersecurity awareness can prevent catastrophic incidents and protect lives and assets.

In summary, this dissertation gives a comprehensive overview of the shipborne subsystems of a Smart Ship System and the major maritime services it can provide in the context of the Internetof- Ships ecosystem. The underlying cyber security issues and challenges are analyzed and a resilience building approach is discussed to protect the smart ships with multiple layers of security measures.