US Port Cybersecurity Bill Advances

 13 Nov 2017 11.37am

US legislators have progressed an act requiring the federal government to assess maritime sector cybersecurity risks following this summer’s “Petya” hacks interrupting LA port operations.

This measure will establish a process for identifying and addressing cybersecurity risks to better defend both California and national economic interests from crippling cyberattacks.

Two senators, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Kamala Harris and Dan Sullivan introduced the bill on November 7, 2017.

They advanced for the Senate review a revived bill from 2015, called the “Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act,” after it passed in the house of Representatives on October 24, 2017.

This rule would incorporate cybersecurity policy into the missions of the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard.

It would require the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a model for assessing cybersecurity risk in the maritime sector.

Guidelines for information sharing would be created for use by the DHS body National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), which shares information on cybersecurity for national infrastructure around the clock.

Read a paper by Rajant on how many ports have implemented layered security systems using CCTV, but still may be lacking required network security.

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said: “The recent cyber-attack on a major shipping line doing business at the Port of Los Angeles was a call to action.

“With the increased digitization of our industry, cybersecurity is a top priority.  This legislation is a major step toward addressing cyber security vulnerabilities in the maritime industry.”

Senator Harris said: “California’s ports are America's gateway to international commerce.

“The Golden State is home to the two busiest ports in the country in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and a cybersecurity incident there or anywhere else would pose a great risk to our nation’s economy. The federal government must work with private sector to protect them.”

Senator Sullivan said: “The successful operation of our nation’s port facilities is vital to our economic stability and potential for growth.

“As our ports increasingly rely on technology to facilitate the movement of goods, they increase their exposure to cyber threats and attacks.

“Given Alaska’s dependence on maritime shipping, communities across our state stand to be the most effected from potential disruptions at any port in our supply chain.

 “Protecting our maritime cyber infrastructure is vital. This legislation introduced today will help do just that.”

Read more: US port authorities have testified before the US Department of Homeland Security's oversight committee on funding gaps when it comes to protecting ports from terrorist and cyberattacks.

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