President Biden boosts cybersecurity for US ports with new EO

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President Biden Unveils EO to Strengthen Cybersecurity of U.S. Ports


President Biden signed an executive order to strengthen cybersecurity at U.S. ports, giving the Coast Guard more authority to respond to threats. The order also mandates reporting of cyber incidents and allocates $20 billion to improve port infrastructure over five years.


President Biden unveiled a new executive order aimed at enhancing cybersecurity measures at U.S. ports and bolstering maritime cybersecurity and supply chains. The order expands the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – specifically the U.S. Coast Guard – to directly address maritime cybersecurity threats. This includes establishing new cybersecurity standards to protect American ports, networks, and systems.

One key element of the executive order is giving the Coast Guard the power to respond to malicious cyber activity in the nation’s marine transportation system by requiring vessels and waterfront facilities to address cyber risks that could jeopardize safety. Additionally, the Coast Guard can now inspect and control vessels posing cyber threats to U.S. maritime infrastructure.

The order also mandates the immediate reporting of cyber incidents or threats endangering vessels, harbors, ports, or waterfront facilities to authorities like the FBI and CISA. To support this initiative, the Coast Guard has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on cybersecurity to establish minimum requirements for addressing maritime cyber threats.

As part of the announcement, the Biden administration has allocated $20 billion for the next five years to enhance U.S. port infrastructure, including investments in cranes and other facilities. National Cyber Director Harry Coker emphasized the importance of these actions in addressing cybersecurity challenges and protecting critical infrastructure from threats, particularly those posed by the People’s Republic of China.

In light of recent alerts regarding state-sponsored cyber threats from China, the government is taking proactive steps to safeguard the nation’s ports. The executive order signifies a commitment to national security by strengthening cybersecurity measures in the maritime sector. Overall, these efforts aim to mitigate cyber risks and ensure the safety and security of the nation’s ports and transportation systems.

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