Protecting US ports with a focus on maritime cyber security

The Need for Focus on Maritime Cyber Security

Maritime organizations are becoming targets for cyber-attacks for many reasons, such as their growing information technology and operational technology complexity and their role as hubs for data from shipping lines, trucking, logistics, and off-dock storage providers.

A variety of Western Hemisphere maritime stakeholders, including ports, carriers, and logistics providers have been victims of significant and costly cyber-attacks—and will continue to be—while international rules on how to manage maritime cybersecurity risk are evolving but lagging behind operational needs. Non-binding guidance and standards can help maritime organizations develop their own effective cyber risk management and cyber security programs.

Mitigating Potential Threats

Last week, IntelliGenesis participated in DreamPort’s Hack the Port 2022 in which 20+ colleges and professional teams competed as both Red and Blue teams in attacking and protecting maritime components and support systems. IntelliGenesis provided a 3-hour course on Open-Source Tools for Cyber Threat Intelligence and had hands-on demonstrations using our IG Labs mobile kit. This area of critical infrastructure is one that is quickly beginning to garner more and more attention.

The Coast Guard recently established their cyber forces and are beginning to shift resources from physical safety and freedom of navigation to understanding the importance and dangers surrounding cyber threats within their sphere of influence. The United States processes over 150 billion dollars in international trade through U.S. ports across the country, receiving and sending out thousands of vessels throughout the year.

Types of Maritime Cyber Threats

The threats to this shipping area comes in the form of disruption of navigation systems, attacks on crane/shore services and disruption to trucking and rail systems in an out of the ports. Now, factor in potential cyber threats to the travel industry through the cruise ships, and those threat vectors increase with each passenger. Additionally, focus on maritime cyber security through the supply chain is a new focus for ship builders who attempt to protect their vessels but face many different suppliers and contractors doing the building and repairs to these ships. So next time you are sitting on the dock of the bay, think about all the cyber activity going on all around the shoreline.

cyber attacks, cyber security, maritime, port, shipping, US


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