Jones Walker LLP, this week, 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
Key findings of the Jones Walker Ports and Terminals Cybersecurity Survey, include:
• Confidence Is High in a Threat Rich Environment.
• Despite 90% of port and terminal respondents reporting preparedness, 74% of respondents indicated that their systems or data had been the target of an attempted or successful breach within the past year.
• Take a Clear-Eyed View of Potential Threats.
• Fear of ransomware appears to be outpacing actual ransomware events. Although 45% of survey respondents named ransomware as the biggest perceived threat, only 20% of respondents whose organizations had been victimized by a cyber attack cited ransomware as the primary attack vector. For actual cyber attacks, survey participants primarily directed blame at solo hackers and organized criminal groups as the top threat actors facing the ports and terminals sector, with nation-state affiliated groups as a close third.
• Make a Plan, Test the Plan, Update the Plan.
• Although 73% of respondents reported having a written Incident Response Plan (IRP), only 21% noted that their IRP had been updated within the past year. Similarly, 50% of respondents said that their facility conducted IRP tabletop exercises irregularly or not at all.
• People and Communication are Key.
• When asked about the frequency of cybersecurity training, the annual industry standard was met by only 57% of the blue-water respondents, and by only 25% of the brown-water respondents.
At its core, cybersecurity is a human challenge and leaders in this sector have a strong commitment to protecting this essential element of our nation’s maritime transportation infrastructure. Law enforcement and other government agencies, industry associations, and other public and private entities offer tools — many of them at little to no cost — to guard against, prepare for, and recover from cyber-attacks from any source.
Source: Jones Walker