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CISA Director Says US Ports Must Be Secured Against Russian Cyberattacks

Vulnerable infrastructure

CISA Director Says US Ports Must Be Secured Against Russian Cyberattacks

The United States’ maritime transportation sector is wide open to cyberattacks by Russian adversaries and must be protected at all costs, according to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly. The official referred to ports as a “soft spot” in America’s critical infrastructure, Nextgov reported Tuesday.

Speaking at the Hack the Port 22 conference Tuesday, Easterly reminded participants that Russia has previously launched successful cyberattacks against the U.S. maritime sector, causing some disruptions. She said that given the role of the industry, “the importance of securing systems and functions that make up the maritime transportation sector cannot be overstated.”

Easterly warned that attacks on the maritime industry are likely to become more common in the years to come. She lamented that securing often unprotected yet interconnected port systems against malicious attacks by sophisticated cyber actors offers a tremendous challenge.

The CISA’s chief said about $5.4 trillion flows through the maritime sector each year, accounting for a quarter of U.S. gross domestic product. No industry operates independently from the sector, she added, citing Coast Guard data.

Easterly emphasized that the next Russian attack on U.S. critical infrastructure may already be due as a consequence of America’s hardline stance against the Putin regime’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Maryland Innovation and Security Institute, in partnership with U.S. Cyber Command, is hosting Hack the Port 22 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from March 21 to 25. The event seeks to connect subject matter experts solution providers and technology influencers deal makers and policymakers in a more intimate conference format to maximize the value to participants.

The conference is also hosting college students from all over the country to participate in a cyber battle designed to teach critical infrastructure cyber defensive and offensive skills from a maritime context.

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Category: Cybersecurity

Tags: adversaries critical infrastructure cyberattack cybersecurity Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Jen Easterly maritime transportation sector Nextgov Russia