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Port of Los Angeles to bolster cybersecurity with Cyber Resilience Center

Photo: The Port of Los Angeles; Courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles

Posted on December 10, 2020

The Port of Los Angeles is about to get a Port Cyber Resilience Center (CRC) which will be designed and operated by the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

The move is being announced on the back of the official approval of the project with IBM by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, following a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process conducted by the port.

The $6.8 million, three-year agreement with IBM includes hardware, software and services to design, install, operate and maintain the CRC.

The center will focus on detecting and protecting against malicious cyber incidents potentially impacting cargo flow.

The port authority said that the first-of-its-kind system is also expected to greatly improve the quality, quantity and speed of cyber information sharing within the Port community.

“As our port increasingly relies on data integration to guide its cargo operations and processes, detection and protection against cyber incidents is critical,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka.

“This new Cyber Resilience Center will not only provide the port an early warning system against port-wide cyber attacks, but result in greater collective knowledge and data sharing throughout our entire port supply chain ecosystem.”

Ports have not been spared from cyber attacks, which have become ever more frequent in the maritime industry over the recent period.

Earlier this year, French container shipping major CMA CGM and the International Maritime Organization were targeted by sophisticated attacks, causing their websites, among other functionalities, to go down.

According to Israeli cybersecurity specialist Naval Dome, cyberattacks on the maritime industry’s operational technology systems have increased by 900% over the last three years with the number of reported incidents set to reach record volumes by year-end.

Cyber security is increasingly important having in mind that the reliance on technology and digitalization has skyrocketed during the pandemic as millions of people switched to working from home.

“Now more than ever, there’s a critical need for global supply chains to operate securely and undisrupted. We’re honored to partner with the Port of Los Angeles to design and build its Cyber Resilience Center, further strengthening its cyber preparedness,” said Wendi Whitmore, Vice President, IBM Security X-Force.

Currently, companies and stakeholders at the port monitor and respond to cyber threats individually. The new center will allow stakeholders to continue to control their own information and security protocols, serving as a “system of systems” and focal point across all participating supply chain stakeholders for cyber threats to the Port of Los Angeles ecosystem.

The port added that the CRC will enable participants—such as tenants and cargo handlers—to quickly share threat indicators with each other and better coordinate defensive responses as needed. It will also serve as an information resource that stakeholders may use to help restore operations following an attack.

In 2014, the port established the nation’s first Port of Los Angeles Cyber Security Operations Center, operated by a dedicated cybersecurity team.

The center currently serves as a centralized location to proactively monitor the port’s own technology environment to prevent and detect cyber incidents. Since 2015, the port has also maintained its ISO 27001 certification for cyber security.

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