In an era of heightened cyber awareness by vessels, leading international satellite service operator IEC Telecom has introduced OptiShield, a comprehensive cybersecurity solution designed specifically for the maritime industry. Developed by IEC Telecom’s experts, OptiShield combines advanced cybersecurity software with a dedicated remote IT team to ensure state-of-the art protection for onboard networks.

Jalloul Ben Soussia

To navigate safely in the digital ocean, having a toolkit is not enough,” explains Jalloul Ben Soussia, VP of Technology at IEC Telecom Group. “It is essential to have a qualified team to manage the software to ensure optimal benefits for your vessel, but not every vessel can have an IT specialist on board. We developed OptiShield to provide it all: advanced cybersecurity software coupled with a 24/7 remote support team of experts.
The number of maritime cyber attacks has risen steadily in recent years, with several global ports being hacked in 2023 as well as a steep increase in maritime companies paying ransomware. According to a recent study by law firm HFW and maritime cyber security company CyberOwl, the average cost of unlocking computer systems in the maritime sector reached $3.2m this year, and 14% of the maritime industry professionals responding to a survey said they had paid ransomware in 2023, compared with 3% in 2022.


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Vessel operators must consider several factors to ensure their vessels are protected against cyber risks. Cybersecurity is no longer optional for vessels, with cyber policies introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) having gone into effect on January 1, 2021. The regulations followed a steep rise in the use of connectivity and data transfers on vessels during the COVID-19 pandemic, and data usage is expected to continue to rise. Cybersecurity is not a plug-and-play solution; rather, it requires customization based on the vessel’s operations and chain of command.
The comprehensive OptiShield solution builds on IEC Telecom’s remote management and cybersecurity expertise to provide top-tier protection for onboard networks while also helping vessels comply with IMO regulations. The OptiShield solution provides crucial threat protection and detection while IEC Telecom’s remote experts function as a cyber response team, ensuring vessels are ready to execute an effective response and quickly return to normal operations.


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OptiShield’s key features include: 

  • Advanced threat protection: Integration between the endpoint antivirus and the next-generation firewall provides native endpoint visibility, compliance control, vulnerability management, sandbox analysis, and automation capabilities; real-time investigation of incidents helps minimize impact by automatically quarantining suspicious endpoints.
  • Secure remote access: Endpoint security solutions utilise SSL and IPSec VPN technologies to create safe access to corporate networks and applications; two-factor authentication can be added for an extra layer of security.
  • Anti-exploit protection: The OptiShield software prevents advanced malware and vulnerabilities from being exploited by analysing downloads in real time and leveraging a cloud-based global threat intelligence platform to protect onboard networks against emerging threats.
  • Ransomware protection: The antivirus solution rolls back changes made by malicious programs and restores the endpoint to a pre-infection state.
  • Dashboard visibility: An intuitive dashboard enhances visibility and control over each vessel’s software and hardware inventory.
  • 24/7 cyber response team: OptiShield’s advanced software is operated by a dedicated remote IT team providing expert guidance.

With the introduction of the #OptiShield cybersecurity solution, IEC Telecom continues to demonstrate its commitment and leadership in providing comprehensive solutions that prioritize vessel safety, efficiency, and cybersecurity in an increasingly connected world. For more information, please visit


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Issue 88 of Robban Assafina

(Nov./ Dec. 2023)


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