Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Report: Lax cybersecurity at U.S. ports

Jul. 20, 2013 - 10:14AM   |  
  • Filed Under

The nation’s ports are unprepared for a cyberattack, which could bring the country’s commerce to a halt, depleting goods across the nation within days, everything from groceries to oil, according to a new report by a Coast Guard judge advocate.

Cmdr. Joseph Kramek, in a policy paper released this month by the Brookings Institution, writes that his service needs congressional authority to enforce cybersecurity at U.S. ports. Kramek is a former special assistant to the commandant and served as a Brookings fellow for a year.

He studied the culture of cybersecurity at six of the nation’s ports, including in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., the first and second busiest ports in the nation, respectively. What he found was that ports have failed to take basic cybersecurity precautions.

“The level of cybersecurity awareness and culture in U.S. port facilities is relatively low,” Kramek writes, and some municipalities have “almost no awareness” of what cybersecurity measures private companies are — or aren’t — using to protect their port spaces.

Kramek, who now serves in the Coast Guard Office of Congressional Affairs, lays out two major concerns in his report: that there are no set cybersecurity standards in U.S. ports, and that the Coast Guard does not have the cybersecurity authority to regulate ports.

The head of Coast Guard Cyber Command, Rear Adm. Robert Day, disagrees that legislation is needed. At least not yet.

“I think that we have all the authorities that we need,” Day said. “I think it’s more, ‘Let’s get the information exchange going back and forth between government and those private entities and public entities.’”

Day said the Coast Guard has good relationships with port authorities and industry, and the service can leverage those relationships before turning to legislation.

An American Association of Port Authorities spokesman agreed that there are no set regulations for cybersecurity, but said the Coast Guard might not be the agency to enforce it at ports.

“No industry that we know of has developed, or has been mandated to abide by, a uniform set of cybersecurity regulations, and who’s to say at this point what agency should enforce a uniform federal cybersecurity protocol if one is developed?” said Aaron Ellis, public affairs director for the AAPA, in an email. He said AAPA is working to educate and provide its members with information on cybersecurity.

However, Kramek said he thinks the Coast Guard is the right agency for that role, since it already enforces physical security at the ports.

“We are well positioned,” Kramek said. “It’s just an extension of what we are already doing.”

Kramek also calls for established cybersecurity standards for ports, better ways to disseminate threat intelligence and mandatory threat assessments.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Cruise pay approved
Kicks in after 220 deployed days, at $16.50 per day

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook