The US Navy is currently developing a cyber protection system in order to tackle cyber security issues, including data theft and network spying.
Dubbed as the resilient hull, mechanical, and electrical security (RHIMES) system, the new solution is aimed to make its shipboard mechanical and electrical control systems resilient to cyber attacks.
Naval Research chief rear admiral Mat Winter said: "The purpose of RHIMES is to enable us to fight through a cyber attack.
"This technology will help the navy protect its shipboard physical systems, but it may also have important applications to protecting our nation’s physical infrastructure."
According to Office of Naval Research programme officer Dr Ryan Craven, the new system is designed to prevent an attacker from disabling or taking control of programmable logic controllers, which are the hardware components that interface with physical systems on the ship.
Craven said: "Some examples of the types of shipboard systems that RHIMES is looking to protect include damage control and firefighting, anchoring, climate control, electric power, hydraulics, steering and engine control."
Older computer security systems offered protection against previously identified malicious code. The security firms have to update their databases and issue new signatures when new threats appear.
RHIMES depends on advanced cyber resiliency techniques to introduce diversity and stop entire classes of attacks at once.
According to Craven, most physical controllers have redundant backups in place and those allow the system to remain operational in the event of a controller failure.
The latest development aligns with higher level strategic guidance, such as US Navy’s Cyber Power 2020, to protect against cyber threats.
Navy Cyber Power 2020 aims to introduce methods to build a relevant and capable navy cyber force for the future.