President Biden's proactive cybersecurity measures for U.S. ports signal

US ports on High Alert: Biden Administration Introduces Stringent Cybersecurity Measures

United States – Biden will create cybersecurity standards for the nation’s ports and establish a federal rule on Wednesday against the possibility of a cyber breach in United States ports.

The administration will be highlighting a set of cybersecurity guidelines which port operators shall follow throughout the country, such as the safety regulations which seek to prevent damage to people and property.

Guidelines for cybersecurity

We want cyber to be conditioned to cyber in the same manner the weather event or another physical hazard attack may trigger the same level of damage, explained US White House Deputy National Security Adviser Anne Neuberger, as reported by The Associated Press.

Economic Impact and Job Loss Mitigation

A nationwide effect of disrupting ports will not only result in the loss of 31 million full-time jobs but also jeopardize a 5.4 trillion-dollar economic gain. Cyber-attacks mean the worst for the security of the ports, according to Neuberger. The principal aim of the rule being developed is to help against that.

The new requirements, to be issued Wednesday, are an outcome of the regulators’ shift to modernization of how critical assets like power grids, ports, and pipelines are protected as they are often managed and controlled online and remotely. The enactment of a standard regulation that dictates how operators might defend themselves against cyber-attacks on the national level cannot be found.

The threat increases continuously. In cyberspace, hostile activity — from espionage to the implantation of malware or a virus to either infect or destroy a country’s infrastructure — is fast becoming the norm in modern geopolitics, as reported by the Associated Press.

Escalating Cyber Threat Landscape

Representation – Escalating Cyber Threat Landscape. Credit | Getty images

An illustration of this is in the ransomware attack of 2021 in which the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline was forced to temporarily close the pipeline after its network was attacked and held ransom in which hackers hold the victim’s data or device hostage and demand money from the victim The pipeline company, Colonial Pipeline, paid $4.4 million to a Russian hacker group, yet the federal officials later recovered most of the amount.

Ports, too, are vulnerable. In Australia last year, a security breach led to one of the country’s largest port operators suspending operations for three days.

More than 80% of giant cranes that are used to lift and move the cargo from the ships to the U.S. ports come from China, and they are being controlled remotely, John Vann, the commander of the U.S. Coast Guard’s cyber command, says. This leaves them open to attack, according to him.

Thwarting State-Backed Cyber Threats

At the end of May, American officials reported that they successfully thwarted a state-backed Chinese attempt to seed malware that could then be used to dominate and damage civilian infrastructure. To Vann, this was a kind of potential attack against the officials, who were pushing for these new standards but could be worried about the possibility of criminal activity, as reported by The Associated Press. The new guidelines, which would be out for public comment, will apply to all port operators, and there would be punishment for noncompliance. The officials, however, did not discuss it. They need the port operators to submit a report to the relevant authorities if they have been attacked in cyber-space. The action also provides the Coast Guard, which is the regulator of the nation’s seaports, the ability to protect against cyberattacks.

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