President Joe Biden issues Executive Order on maritime cybersecurity


The White House has announced that US President Joe Biden is to issue an Executive Order to bolster maritime cybersecurity and improve infrastructure resilience at the nation’s ports.

The Executive Order will give the US Department of Homeland Security additional authority to directly address maritime cyber threats, including through the introduction of cybersecurity standards to ensure that ports’ networks and systems are secure.

The US Coast Guard will have the express authority to respond to malicious cyber activity in the nation’s maritime transport system under the new rules, by requiring vessels and waterfront facilities to mitigate cyber conditions that may endanger the safety of a vessel, facility, or harbour.

Mandatory reporting of cyber incidents– or active cyber threats – will be introduced, while the Coast Guard will now also have the authority to control the movement of vessels that present a known or suspected cyber threat to US maritime infrastructure and will be able to carry out inspections.

New rules will additionally take aim at ship-to-shore cranes manufactured in China, with the US Coast Guard to issue a Maritime Security Directive on cyber risk management actions for such cranes located at US ports. Owners and operators of these cranes will be asked to undertake a series of actions to ensure the security of the equipment and associated Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) systems.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Cybersecurity in the Marine Transportation System (MTS) has been issued by the Coast Guard, outlining proposed new rules to strengthen digital systems by establishing minimum cybersecurity requirements that meet international and industry-recognised standards to best manage cyber threats.

“The security of our critical infrastructure remains a national imperative in an increasingly complex threat environment. MTS owners and operators rely on digital systems to enable their operations, to include ship navigation, the movement of cargo, engineering, safety, and security monitoring,” said the White House, in a statement.

“These systems have revolutionised the maritime shipping industry and American supply chains by enhancing the speed and efficiency of moving goods to market, but the increasing digital interconnectedness of our economy and supply chains have also introduced vulnerabilities that, if exploited, could have cascading impacts on America’s ports, the economy, and everyday hard-working Americans.”

Share this story

About the Author

Picture of Rob O'Dwyer
Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Further Reading

News Archive