Maritime Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Needs to Better Address Port Cybersecurity

U.S. maritime ports handle more than $1.3 trillion in cargo annually. The operations of these ports are supported by information and communication systems, which are susceptible to cyber-related threats. Failures in these systems could degrade or interrupt operations at ports, including the flow of commerce. Federal agencies—in particular Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—and industry stakeholders have specific roles in protecting maritime facilities and ports from physical and cyber threats. The Government Accoutability Office's (GAO’s) objective was to identify the extent to which DHS and other stakeholders have taken steps to address cybersecurity in the maritime port environment. GAO examined relevant laws and regulations; analyzed federal cybersecurity-related policies and plans; observed operations at three U.S. ports selected based on being a high-risk port and a leader in calls by vessel type, e.g. container; and interviewed federal and nonfederal officials. GAO recommends that DHS direct the Coast Guard to (1) assess cyber-related risks, (2) use this assessment to inform maritime security guidance, and (3) determine whether the sector coordinating council should be reestablished. DHS should also direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to (1) develop procedures to consult DHS cybersecurity experts for assistance in reviewing grant proposals and (2) use the results of the cyber-risk assessment to inform its grant guidance. DHS concurred with GAO’s recommendations.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 54p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01529454
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-14-459
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 2014 12:21PM