A new research centre created at Montreal’s Polytechnique university will aim to protect ships from cyber attacks. Canada’s Maritime Cyber Security Centre of Excellence will combine the expertise of two Polytechnique researchers, Quebec cybersecurity startup Neptune Cyber and Davie Shipbuilding. The five-year research project will focus on cybersecurity for critical maritime infrastructures. Critical ship components, including navigation and motors, are being connected to the internet more and more frequently, in order to diagnose problems at a distance and avoid having to send a repairperson onto a ship that could be half a world away. But systems connected to the internet can become potentially attractive targets for hackers, who could try to paralyze a ship in the hopes of extracting a large ransom from the owner. Within a year, the project’s participants hope to have identified key vulnerabilities and laid the foundation for addressing them. Neptune Cyber and Davie will contribute a total of $1.7 million, of which $500,000 will be in cash and $1.2 million in support and equipment for the project’s duration. About 10 graduate students will also be trained to become among the first specialists in the field.