Cyber Attacks On Port of Los Angeles Have Doubled

Every year, seaports move billions of dollars in products, making them an attractive target for cyber criminals. They confront regular ransomware, malware, spear phishing, and credential harvesting attacks designed to cause as much damage as possible and decelerate economies.

Los Angeles is the busiest port in the western hemisphere, handling more than $250bn (£210bn) of cargo annually and the number of monthly cyber attacks hitting the Port of Los Angeles is currently about 40 million, according to the port's executive director Gene Seroka.

Cyber attacks have doubled since the start of the Covid pandemic and the port is now working with the FBI’s cyber-crime team to prevent attacks and improve cyber security.  

Maritime ports move billions of dollars in goods every year, making them a unique target for cyber criminals and the threats are believed to come mainly from Europe and Russia, with the aim to disrupt the US economy "Our intelligence shows the threats are coming from Russia and parts of Europe. We have to stay steps ahead of those who want to hurt international commerce," Seroka told the BBC. 

They face daily ransomware, malware, spear phishing and credential harvesting attacks, with the aim of causing as much disruption as possible and slowing down economies. 

The port has invested millions of dollars in cyber protection, developing one of the world's first Cyber Resilience Centres, in partnership with the FBI. The Cyber Resilience Centre provides enhanced intelligence gathering and heightened protection against cyber threats within the maritime supply chain. 

It is a hub for the port to receive, analyse and share information with those who operate on the dock, such as cargo handlers and shipping lines. 

During the Covid pandemic global supply chains slowed down as lockdown closed factories and workers were forced to stay at home. In January 2022 there were 109 container ships queuing for more than two days to get into the Port of Los Angeles. Currently there are around 20 waiting to dock and Seroka believes the blockages won't clear completely until 2023. “We must take every precaution against potential cyber-incidents, especially those that threaten or hinder the movement of cargo.” he said.

“The past two years have demonstrated the importance of ports to the nation’s crucial infrastructure, supply lines, and economy. We must maintain the highest level of system security feasible,” Seroka said,

Port of Los Angeles:     @portofla:    Beamstart:      BBC:     Allsides:     BusinessFast:     Flipboard

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