Given my recent post Taking the Fight to the Enemy Revisted, does this AP report sound familiar?
Countries lining the Malacca Strait have vastly improved security in the strategic shipping route over the last five years, the top U.S. commander in the Pacific said on Monday...
Attacks in the Malacca Strait have been on the decline with only 11 cases last year compared to 18 in 2005 and 38 in 2004, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a martime watchdog...
Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore began stepping up their surveillance by coordinating sea patrols in 2004 and following with air patrols a year later.
Last August, the British insurance market Lloyd's lifted its "war-risk" rating for the waterway, saying the safety of the 550-mile-long strait had improved due to long-term security measures. (emphasis added)
Despite this development, Malaysia is looking for alternatives to shipping when transporting oil, according to this article:
A proposed oil pipeline project to pump oil across northern Malaysia could lower transportation costs and avoid risks of pirate attacks on tankers.
The US$14.2-billion project would involve building a 320-kilometre pipeline across northern Malaysia, linking ports on the two coasts, officials in northern Kedah state announced...
Crude oil would be refined in Kedah, pumped through the pipe to Kelantan on the east coast and then loaded onto tankers bound for Japan, China and South Korea, completely bypassing Singapore and the Malacca Strait, which lies off peninsular Malaysia’s west coast.
The strait, which carries half the world’s oil and more than one-third of its commerce, is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. It is notorious for robberies and kidnappings by pirates, but attacks have fallen following increased security patrols in 2005. (emphasis added)
I see two lessons here. First, shipping companies did not try to "patch" their way out of this problem. There is no way to address all of the vulnerabilities associated with transporting oil by tanker. A two-pronged approach was taken. First, to protect ships, governments increased security patrols to deter and repel pirates. Ships did not get equipped with Yamato-size deck guns and battleship armor. Second, an alternative means to transport oil is being considered. This is a form of backup or redundancy to ensure oil still flows if the Strait becomes too dangerous.
I think these stories have plenty of lessons for digital security. Of course the next step would be going after the pirates directly, before they ever reach friendly ships. Consider the history of the US Navy:
Operations Against West Indian Pirates 1822-1830s
By the second decade of the 19th Century, pirates increasingly infested the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and by the early 1820's nearly 3,000 attacks had been made on merchant ships. Financial loss was great; murder and torture were common.
Under the leadership of Commodores James Biddle, David Porter and Lewis Warrington, the U.S. Navy's West India Squadron, created in 1822, crushed the pirates. The outlaws were relentlessly ferreted out from uncharted bays and lagoons by sailors manning open boats for extended periods through storm and intense heat. To the danger of close-quarter combat was added the constant exposure to yellow fever and malaria in the arduous tropical duty.
The Navy's persistent and aggressive assault against the freebooters achieved the desired results. Within 10 years, Caribbean piracy was all but extinguished, and an invaluable service had been rendered to humanity and the shipping interests of all nations.
That's what I'm talking about.
Thanks to geek00l and mboman for discussing pirates in #snort-gui for inspiring this post.