Information Technology

Increased Cybersecurity Attacks on US Ports and Terminals

Increased Cybersecurity Attacks on US Ports and Terminals

Jones Walker LLP today publicly released the findings of its 2022 Ports and Terminals Cybersecurity Survey, examining cybersecurity preparedness in US-based ports and terminals. The report outlining the results of the survey is authored by four of the firm’s attorneys and the findings will be presented by two of them, Jim Kearns and Andy Lee, during the Inland Rivers, Ports & Terminals (IRPT) conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 2:30 pm Central Daylight Time today.

The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Eastern Europe and other geopolitical events, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, rising inflation, and rapidly escalating energy prices have brought increased focus on this key industry. The results of the 2022 survey reflect the responses of 125 senior executives of blue- and brown-water ports and terminals across the United States and confirm that cybersecurity is a growing concern for owners and operators of ports and maritime terminals.

This survey is the national law firm’s third on the topic of cybersecurity for infrastructure-related industries. In 2018, the firm’s first survey focused on the greater maritime industry. The second survey, in 2020, focused on the midstream oil and gas sector, another critical infrastructure industry.

“Without question, protecting the marine transportation system from cyber threats is a shared responsibility requiring both government and industry participation.” – CAPT ANDY MEYERS, U.S. Coast Guard, Chief of the Office of Port and Facility Compliance

Andy Lee, partner and head of Jones Walker’s Privacy & Data Security team:
“The need for cybersecurity at the nation’s ports and maritime terminals is more pressing than ever. This industry is critical to the country’s economic health and is an enticing target for threat actors seeking to disrupt critical infrastructure.”

Ford Wogan, a partner in Jones Walker’s Maritime Practice Group:
“What’s most surprising is that despite 90% of respondents reporting they’re prepared to withstand cybersecurity threats in 2022, this year’s survey uncovered a significant increase from 2018 in terms of reported cyber-attacks amongst maritime industry stakeholders – from 43% in 2018 to 74% in 2022.”

Jim Kearns, special counsel in Jones Walker’s Maritime Practice Group: 
“It is concerning to learn that 27%, or more than one-fourth, of all blue-water and brown-water facilities, reported that they do not yet address cybersecurity in their facility security plans. For ports and terminals to be cyber secure – not just ‘cyber-aware’ – it’s critical that they have up-to-date plans, train their people, and communicate effectively both internally and with others in their industry.”

Ilsa Luther, associate in Jones Walker’s Maritime Practice Group:
“A lot of resources and attention are focused on ransomware as one of the primary cyber threats. However, we uncovered that only 20% of respondents whose organizations had been victimized by a cyber-attack reported that ransomware was the primary attack vector.”

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