Cyber Port Authority

When you think of U.S. ports, images of ships and maritime commerce may be top of mind. Yet, while the U.S. Coast Guard takes the lead on protecting these coastal facilities, the federal agency doesn’t have the cybersecurity authority to protect and defend against potentially economy-crippling cyber attacks.

“The potential consequences of even a minimal disruption of the flow of goods in U.S. ports would be high,” the Brookings Institute wrote in a new report. “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.” Read Brookings’ recommendations for smooth cyber sailing here.

$46B for Secure Critical Infrastructure

Ports aren’t the only critical infrastructure in need of enhanced cybersecurity. The power grid, oil and gas, water supply management and a number of other critical components to any developed nation’s economy are in jeopardy being hit by cyber espionage, cyber crime and cyber terrorism.

To combat cyber vulnerabilities, $46 billion will be spent globally by the end of the year, according to a study from ABI Research. “The drivers for the market in related products and services are numerous, but in large part many will be propelled by national cybersecurity strategies and policies,” stated the report. Read more from ABI here.

Wall Street Prepares for Attack

While $46 billion may sound like a lot, Wall Street has much more to lose. That’s why the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association conducted a drill last week to gauge how the financial markets might stack up against a cyber attack.

Dubbed Quantum Dawn 2, the drill was carried out by over 500 individuals from 50 financial service organizations as well as U.S. government agencies. According to Business Technology, the mock cyber attack was deemed a “success.”

Another DHS departure

The DHS may be feeling more shortchanged than successful lately, as Janet Napolitano isn’t the only official moving on from the agency. According to reports, Bruce McConnell, acting deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity, is planning to retire next month.

McConnell will be the third DHS cybersecurity official to resign this year. In April, Mark Weatherford, who served as deputy under secretary for cybersecurity, left the agency. Michael Locatis, then-assistant secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, left DHS in January.

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Michelle Kincaid is a DC-based public affairs professional specializing in technology policy. She is creator of the blog