US Ports May Be Open to Cyberthreats

According to a report written by Cmdr. Joseph Kramek, who serves in the Coast Guard Office of Congressional Affairs, US ports are wide open to a cyberattack.

The report, released by the Brookings Institute, suggests that Congress needs to give the Coast Guard the authority to enforce cybersecurity regulations at US ports across the country. In addition, there need to be specific cybersecurity standards at US ports that improve the "culture of cybersecurity", ways to share intelligence about possible threats, and threat assessments at regular intervals. These would improve the "culture of cybersecurity", which Cmdr. Kramek says is failing to take even basic precautions, even at some of the nations busiest ports.

The head of Coast Guard Cyber Command, Rear Adm. Robert Day, thinks that the current relationships between the USCG and port authorities is more important than legislation: "I think that we have all the authorities that we need...I think it’s more; let’s get the information exchange going back and forth between government and those private entities and public entities".

A spokesman for the American Association of Port Authorities, Aaron Ellis agreed with Adm. Day, saying that no industry has mandated cybersecurity regulations and that even if there was a "uniform Federal cybersecurity protocol", the Coast Guard may not be the right agency to enforce such measures.