Biden administration promises $20 billion in port cybersecurity

Biden Administration promises $20 billion in port cybersecurity

The Biden Administration has announced that it would issue an Executive Order to improve port cybersecurity in the US.

According to the White House, the move would boost the security of the US ports, as well as several further initiatives to strengthen marine cybersecurity.

CNN reported that the Administration officials intend to invest over $20 billion over the next five years in new port infrastructure, including cranes made in the US, which officials believe will pose less of a cybersecurity and counterintelligence risk.

CNBC noted that President Joe Biden’s executive order would improve marine cybersecurity by ensuring that all vital port infrastructure complies with international and industry safety standards.

READ: White House releases National Cybersecurity Strategy

The White House revealed that the U.S. Coast Guard will release a Maritime Security Directive outlining cyber risk management procedures for Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes made by the People’s Republic of China and installed at US Commercial Strategic Seaports.

According to ABC News, Admiral John Vann, Commander of the U.S. Coast Guard’s cyber command, suggested that 80 per cent of the STS cranes transporting cargo at US ports utilise Chinese software, prompting concerns that the cranes may be under Chinese surveillance, leaving the US vulnerable.

READ: Biden Administration quells pressure to mediate West Coast labour negotiations

As a result, PACECO Corp., a US-based subsidiary of Mitsui E&S Co., Ltd (Japan), plans to increase US manufacturing capacity for crane manufacture.

The White House noted that PACECO intends to partner with other trusted manufacturing companies to bring port crane manufacturing capabilities back to the US for the first time in 30 years.

According to Reuters, a 2023 report by the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration found that American ports are vulnerable to hackers due to the large number of contractors and stakeholders that operate there.

In August 2021, the Port of Houston was targeted in a cybersecurity attack, believed to have originated from a nation-state actor.

Almost two years later, in April 2023, numerous Canadian ports were subjected to cyber assaults. The reports at the time indicated that pro-Russian hackers were responsible, which raised concerns among government and security authorities.

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