European Journal of Policing Studies

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Issue Online First, 2024 Expand all abstracts

Port in an E-Storm

Exploring Awareness of State-Sponsored Cyber-Threats and -Attacks in the Port of Rotterdam and North Sea Canal Area

Keywords awareness, cyber-resilience, cyberthreats, port security, state-sponsored cyberattack
Authors Bibi Kok, Yarin Eski and Mauro Boelens
AbstractAuthor's information

    Cyberattacks on European ports have increased recently, especially since the war in Ukraine. Public and political concerns exist about ports becoming victimized by state-sponsored cyberattacks. As ports depend heavily on interconnected technology, attacking a single port facility damages the entire port sector and other connecting sectors. Cybersecurity literature acknowledges that these attacks are often a result of human behaviour, making humans the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Specific knowledge on how human behaviour and cognitive constraints relate to (awareness of) cyberattacks on ports remains undeveloped. This article therefore considers the status quo of cyberthreat awareness within the Port of Rotterdam and North Sea Canal Area/Port of Amsterdam as important European gateways to discover how awareness of cyberthreats and attacks relates to ports’ cyber-resilience. Interviewed (port) security experts and employees argued the lack of cyberthreat awareness is caused by 1) rapid technological developments in a traditional sector, 2) cybersecurity versus economic interests and 3) inactive partnerships.

Bibi Kok
Bibi Kok, VU Amsterdam.

Yarin Eski
Yarin Eski, VU Amsterdam. Corresponding author: y.eski@vu.nl.

Mauro Boelens
Mauro Boelens, Boelens Advies.

    Drawing on her ethnographic doctoral research, the author reflects on the challenges of employing a feminist methodology when observing the police. The article will discuss the fraught process of gaining trust and sustaining fragile access by betraying the self. The feminist killjoy (Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life; Ahmed, The Feminist Killjoy Handbook) is used as a lens to examine the author’s response to the political and ethical dilemmas that she encountered during fieldwork. This will lead to considering whether a “critical empathy” framework is a valuable approach to conducting police research from a feminist perspective. This discussion will offer new tools for dealing with the emotional complexities of ethnographic research. It will make a strong case for the possibilities and importance of conducting feminist research about the police.

Leah Molyneux
Leah Molyneux, PhD Candidate, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, University of Liverpool.

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