House Passes Bill Aimed at Boosting Cybersecurity at U.S. Ports

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill meant to boost cybersecurity at the nation’s seaports.

H.R. 3101, the Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act of 2017 was passed in the wake of the June cyberattack that affected the Port of Los Angeles. The NotPetya worm attack shutdown the biggest terminal at the port of Los Angeles. The bill was introduced by Rep. Norma Torres, who said the June cyberattack on the port revealed “serious vulnerabilities” in the ports which needed to be addressed.

The Strengthening Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Coordination in Our Ports Act would improve information sharing and cooperation in addressing cybersecurity risks at the nation’s ports through several measures: setting standards for reporting, providing guidance to ports, bringing port representatives to the table for future planning, and modernizing how the Coast Guard addresses cyber threats. 

“There is unfortunately little coordination between port landlords and tenants in addressing cyber threats, and federal agencies have only recently started to consider the impact that a cyber-attack could pose to our maritime infrastructure,” said Rep Torres. 

“In addition, port operators do not have the necessary support from the federal government for reporting threats.  This legislation will ensure the necessary planning and coordination is in place to protect US ports which move more than $1.3 trillion in cargo every day.  Disruptions mean higher prices and slower service for every American,” Torres added.

The legislation is supported by the Port of Los Angeles, Congressional PORTS Caucus Chairs, and it is endorsed by the Maritime & Port Information Sharing & Analysis Organization. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where Torres says she has been actively working with Senate colleagues to ensure a quick passage into law.