9:24pm 14th September 2021
The IAPH has pushed digitization initiatives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but ports need to correspondingly protect themselves from the increasing threat of cyber attacks. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.
The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) on Thursday released a new document to help global ports gauge their readiness to withstand cyber security attacks.
The report, Cybersecurity Guidelines for Ports and Port Facilities, is intended to enable the development response plans and to help ports assess “the true financial, commercial and operational impact of a cyber attack,” IAPH said in a statement. The report was compiled over the last four months with insight from security experts at 22 IAPH member ports, associate member cyber security specialists, and contributors from the World Bank.
The guidelines also address what resources port organizations need to manage cyber security risks.
“We have produced this set of port and port facilities cybersecurity guidelines targeting the strategic rather than technical level,” IAPH managing director Patrick Verhoeven said in the statement. “They are designed to create awareness among the C-level management of port authorities.”
Verhoeven added that the guidelines have been sent to the International Maritime Organization’s facilitation and maritime safety committees, the latter of which meets in October to provide guidelines to the maritime sector.
IAPH has been active in pushing maritime authorities to adopt digitization initiatives to create operational efficiencies in ports. The other side of that coin is ensuring ports are sufficiently hardening themselves as targets for cyber attacks. Port authorities have in recent years admitted that they are major targets for such attacks and need to create adaptive protocols to prepare for, withstand, and recover from incursions.
IAPH developed a Port Community Cyber Security White Paper in mid-2020, an initiative that the association decided needed to be followed by higher-level direction.
“These guidelines were a logical follow on from the [white paper] developed by IAPH in 2020 as a guide to those ports gearing up to digitalize processes and data exchanges to deal with the new normal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pascal Ollivier, chair of IAPH’s Data Collaboration Committee and president of digital trade advisory firm Maritime Street. Ollivier led development of the guidelines.
“The digitalization of port communities means ports will need to pay increased attention to cyber security risks,” he added. “It quickly became apparent that the authors all felt we needed to offer a pragmatic and practical approach to dealing with cyber threat actors.”
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