Comentario de “Protección de la Infraestructura Crítica Marítima – El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional necesita dirigir mejor la seguridad cibernética Portuaria”, Informe al Presidente, Comisión de Comercio, Ciencia y Transporte, Senado de los Estados Unidos, Oficina de Rendición de Cuentas del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos, junio de 2014 (CORE1098)

Resumen: Las medidas adoptadas por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés) y dos de las agencias que lo componen, la Guardia Costera de los Estados Unidos y la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés), así como otras agencias federales, para hacer frente a la seguridad cibernética en el entorno marítimo portuario, han sido limitadas. Reporte disponible (en inglés) en:

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Full review: While the Coast Guard initiated a number of activities and coordinating strategies to improve physical security in specific ports, it has not conducted a risk assessment that fully addresses cyber-related threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences. Coast Guard officials stated that they intend to conduct such an assessment in the future, but did not provide details to show how it would address cybersecurity. Until the Coast Guard completes a thorough assessment of cyber risks in the maritime environment, the ability of stakeholders to appropriately plan and allocate resources to protect ports and other maritime facilities will be limited.

Maritime security plans required by law and regulation generally did not identify or address potential cyber-related threats or vulnerabilities. This was because the guidance issued by Coast Guard for developing these plans did not require cyber elements to be addressed. Officials stated that guidance for the next set of updated plans, due for update in 2014, will include cybersecurity requirements. However, in the absence of a comprehensive risk assessment, the revised guidance may not adequately address cyber-related risks to the maritime environment.

The degree to which information-sharing mechanisms (e.g., councils) were active and shared cybersecurity-related information varied. Specifically, the Coast Guard established a government coordinating council to share information among government entities, but it is unclear to what extent this body has shared information related to cybersecurity. In addition, a sector coordinating council for sharing information among nonfederal stakeholders is no longer active, and the Coast Guard has not convinced stakeholders to reestablish it. Until the Coast Guard improves these mechanisms, maritime stakeholders in different locations are at greater risk of not being aware of, and thus not mitigating, cyber-based threats.

Under a program to provide security-related grants to ports, FEMA identified enhancing cybersecurity capabilities as a funding priority for the first time in fiscal year 2013 and has provided guidance for cybersecurity-related proposals. However, the agency has not consulted cybersecurity-related subject matter experts to inform the multi-level review of cyber-related proposals—partly because FEMA has downsized the expert panel that reviews grants. Also, because the Coast Guard has not assessed cyber-related risks in the maritime risk assessment, grant applicants and FEMA have not been able to use this information to inform funding proposals and decisions. As a result, FEMA is limited in its ability to ensure that the program is effectively addressing cyber-related risks in the maritime environment.

Why GAO Did This Study? 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 DHS—and industry stakeholders have specific roles in protecting maritime facilities and ports from physical and cyber threats. 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.

What GAO Recommends? 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 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.

Full citation:  “MARITIME CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION – DHS Needs to Better Address Port Cybersecurity”, Report to the Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate, United States Government Accountability Office, June 2014.


Keywords: Maritime Security, Port Security, Cyber – Security, CBP U.S. – Customs and Border Protection, Coast Guard U.S., DHS-Department of Homeland Security, FEMA-Federal Emergency Management Agency, ISAC-information sharing and analysis center, IT-information technology, MTSA-Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, NIPP-National Infrastructure Protection Plan, AFE Port Act-Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006, TSA-Transportation Security Administration


Comentario de La Brecha en Infraestructura Crítica: Instalaciones Portuarias en Estados Unidos y Vulnerabilidades Cibernéticas, Documento de Política, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence (CORE1095)

Resumen: En un documento de política de 50 páginas del Brookings Institute y elaborado por el Comandante Joseph Kramek de la Guardia Costera de los Estados Unidos y Miembro Ejecutivo Federal en la institución, se discute el estado actual de los asuntos relacionados con las vulnerabilidades en los puertos estadounidenses y se presentan las opciones para reforzar la seguridad cibernética. En el resumen ejecutivo, el Comandante Kramek escribe que las instalaciones portuarias estadounidenses de hoy en día se basan tanto de las redes y sistemas informáticos y de control como se basan de los estibadores para asegurar el flujo de comercio marítimo del que dependen el Estado, la economía y la seguridad nacional. Sin embargo, a diferencia de otros sectores críticos en la infraestructura, se ha prestado poca atención a los sistemas de redes que sustentan las operaciones portuarias. Reporte disponible (en inglés) en:

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Full review: No cybersecurity standards have been promulgated for U.S. ports, nor has the U.S. Coast Guard, the lead federal agency for maritime security, been granted cybersecurity authorities to regulate ports or other areas of maritime critical infrastructure. In the midst of this lacuna of authority is a sobering fact: according to the most recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) the next terrorist attack on U.S. Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) is just as likely to be a cyber attack as a kinetic attack.

The potential consequences of even a minimal disruption of the flow of goods in U.S. ports would be high. The zero-inventory, just-in-time delivery system that sustains the flow of U.S. commerce would grind to a halt in a matter of days; shelves at grocery stores and gas tanks at service stations would run empty. In certain ports, a cyber disruption affecting energy supplies would likely send not just a ripple but a shockwave through the U.S. and even global economy.

Given the absence of standards and authorities, this paper explores the current state of cybersecurity awareness and culture in selected U.S. port facilities. The use of the post-9/11 Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is also examined to see whether these monies are being used to fund cybersecurity projects.

Full citation:   The Critical Infrastructure Gap: U.S. Port Facilities and Cyber Vulnerabilities, Policy Paper, July 2013, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence.


Keywords: Maritime Security, Cyber-security, Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), Port facility, Coast Guard, Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA).