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Securing the US digital borders

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2024 has already proven be a busy year in US maritime cyber security, with a series of announcements in February aimed at tackling digital threats to ships, ports, and facilities.

An Executive Order signed by President Biden granted the Department of Homeland Security authority to directly assess maritime cyber threats and introduce standards to secure US ports’ networks. The US Coast Guard (USCG) announced it had released proposed regulations on cyber security for public comment, inviting industry stakeholders to review and give feedback on the rules. The last major component of the announcements picked out port cranes, giving notice that the USCG would issue a Maritime Security Directive to manage cyber risks related to cranes manufactured in China.

Speaking to Global Ports Report, Rear Admiral Wayne R. Arguin Jr., Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) at the US Coast Guard, said the Executive Order resolved a grey area in the rules as to whether USCG could act based on a cyber incident, clarifying that the Captain of the Port’s authority could be triggered by cyber events.

‘What that means is that the local Captain of the Port can take decisive action to either control a vessel’s movement or control access to a facility, and evaluate whether or not that particular incident has been addressed effectively.’

Arguin said there was no specific incident that led to this clarification, but ‘there were growing concerns with vulnerabilities within ports and what sort of protective measures could be put in place’.

Want to find out more? Take a look at the full article on our Global Ports Report 2024.