Yvon Kermarrec

Yvon Kermarrec

Yvon Kermarrec


Yvon Kermarrec is Professor of computer sciences at IMT Atlantique, an engineering graduate school and a leading research / innovation center, located in Brest, France.  Yvon holds a PhD degree and an Habilitation in computer science, in the topics of software engineering, distributed and reliable systems.

He worked at the Courant Institute of New York U, Raytheon in Vancouver, Telecom ParisTech and Telecom Bretagne (now IMT Atlantique). He is currently the team lead of ‘Chaire de cybersécurité  des systèmes navals’ (cyber security R&D group for naval systems),  which is a joined lab between Thales, Naval Group, Ecole Navale (French Naval academy) and IMT Atlantique.


Security has always been a concern in the ship industry, because of the values of the conveyed goods and the impact of wreckage on the fragile maritime environment.  From the early days, piracy has plagued ancient Egypt or Phoenicia and was initiated by individuals or groups, to ensure control of the commercial traffic or to rob valuable cargoes. Piracy is still active in specific regions of the globe,  but ship piracy has also evolved with the information and communication technologies. New forms of threats arise due to the ubiquitous internet on board the vessels: a ’remote’ pirate can gain control and operate a ship from the distance; a pirate can also forge and send false signals (e.g.; GPS) or alter electronic navigation maps so that a ship can be trapped. These new forms of piracy have raised concerned at the international level (e.g.; IMO or International Maritime Organization and the insurance companies).The IMO indicates in particular that ”Risks can result from improper integration of cyber systems, the unexpected and unintended consequences of system updates, the interactions between the cyber systems of ships and ports, or the malicious attacks and threats from outside sources”.

In this context, 2 academic institutions (the French Naval Academy and IMT Atlantique) and 2 major industries (Thales and Naval Group) have joined their forces in order to investigate new approaches for detecting and preventing cyber attacks in the maritime context, to implement them as prototypes and to evaluate them. The objectives of this venture are twofold: a research concern in order to enhance security for ships and naval infrastructure, and an educational target in order to raise awareness for the current and future maritime stakeholders (e.g.; officers, crew, and students in training).

During this talk, we shall present the research activities that are performed within the the cybersecurity R&D group for naval systems, their outcomes and how the results  have been applied with success.