Granted not all of us spend our time relaxing on one of the increasing number of luxury yachts charting the high seas and exclusive tropical island destinations, but they are becoming more common and more connected. Luxury yacht network security is growing in importance as some of the world’s titans of business take their work with them, essentially turning multi-million dollar boats into satellite connected branch offices.

Yachts often have a perceived “air gap” since they are typically in remote areas and make their data connections over satellite. However, less-secured Wi-Fi networks often have strong signals because owners demand the connectivity comforts of land for operating businesses, keeping up with Facebook… and binging on Netflix. These signals can extend quite far from the actual ship to other vessels and the shore.

The same security features Uplogix brings to financial and military networks deploys with the platforms deployed on luxury yachts to manage IT, communications and entertainment networks. The luxury yacht business is built on two core tenets: 1) quality (materials, workmanship, user experience…); 2) confidentiality (who, what, when, where & why). Our luxury yacht customers don’t disclose much about where they use Uplogix, but the key use cases fit in with our usual operations.

  • Uplogix offers an effective approach to reducing the cost and complexity of supporting integrated AV/IT and satellite network environments. Uplogix Local Manager (LM) devices enable operators to remotely monitor and control both satellite and terrestrial-based network equipment to ensure that the demanding standards of yacht owners are achieved and exceeded. The LMs co-locate and connect serially with network and satellite communications equipment to provide non-stop local management and control.
  • Uplogix LMs automate numerous network support, maintenance, configuration and recovery procedures—reducing the time, cost and error associated with manual support. Remote administrators can manage all Uplogix LMs via the Uplogix Control Center—a centralized, web-based portal that presents a full inventory of both Uplogix devices and the infrastructure equipment connected to them.

So how does luxury yacht network security impact you even if you aren’t a big enough wheel to cruise the high seas? Maybe your CEO is. Some of the largest privately owned boats in the world are owned by Larry Page of Google (193-foot Senses), Eric Schmidt of Alphabet (194-foot Oasis), Larry Ellison and Mark Cuban have twin sister ships (288-foot Masashi for Ellison and the Fountainhead for Cuban). Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen is the CEO of the seas with two of the largest yachts in the world, the 303-foot Tatoosh and the 414-foot Octopus.

An article in The Guardian outlined some of the risks of luxury yacht network security:

Within a few hours of mooring up and opening his laptop, Campbell Murray had taken complete control of a nearby multimillion-dollar super yacht.

He could easily have sailed it – and its super rich owner – off into the sunset. “We had control of the satellite communications,” said Murray, an IT specialist. “We had control of the telephone system, the Wi-Fi, the navigation … And we could wipe the data to erase any evidence of what we had done.”

“Imagine you’ve got a high-value guest on one of your ships and they want to send a press release, if I can capture it and change it I can cause a lot of reputational damage,” he said.

In a big publicly traded company, these kinds of cybersecurity issues with top execs can create some real trouble on the high seas… and Wall Street.