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Port of Los Angeles Inks $6.8 Mln Cybersecurity Deal with IBM

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

December 7, 2020

© trekandphoto / Adobe Stock

© trekandphoto / Adobe Stock

The Port of Los Angeles is working with IBM to design and operate a Port Cyber Resilience Center (CRC) at the U.S.' busiest container port.

A $6.8 million, three-year agreement between the seaport and tech giant includes hardware, software and services to design, install, operate and maintain the first-of-its-kind system aimed at detecting and protecting against malicious cyber incidents potentially impacting cargo flow as well as improving the quality, quantity and speed of cyber information sharing within its supply chain ecosystem.

The Port of Los Angeles is in the midst of an infrastructure investment program aimed at raising the bar for cargo efficiency, and it is also focused on new technologies to enhance digital information flow throughout the supply chain. With cyber threats emerging as reality for all industries, the port is taking proactive steps to enhance its ecosystem’s awareness and readiness to respond to cyber threats that could disrupt the flow of cargo.

“As our port increasingly relies on data integration to guide its cargo operations and processes, detection and protection against cyber incidents is critical,” said Port Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This new Cyber Resilience Center will not only provide the port an early warning system against port-wide cyber attacks, but result in greater collective knowledge and data sharing throughout our entire port supply chain ecosystem.”

"Now more than ever, there’s a critical need for global supply chains to operate securely and undisrupted," said Wendi Whitmore, Vice President, IBM Security X-Force. “A supply chain is only as strong as its most vulnerable entity. The CRC will help each participating member of the supply chain to better protect themselves, and by extension each other. In the face of a cyberattack, every second counts and with the threat detection, threat sharing, and automation capabilities that IBM can bring to this project, we’re uniquely positioned to build the tools that can help provide the speed and efficiency stakeholders demand.”

Currently, companies and stakeholders at the port monitor and respond to cyber threats individually. The CRC will be a maritime Security Intelligence and Operations Center (SIOC) to automate threat collaboration and extend its reach beyond traditional maritime stakeholders to port stakeholders that are more broadly involved in cargo flow, such cross-sector companies. While still allowing stakeholder control over their own information and security protocols, the CRC will serve as a “system of systems” and focal point across all participating supply chain stakeholders for cyber threats to the Port of Los Angeles ecosystem. The CRC will enable participants—such as tenants and cargo handlers—to quickly share threat indicators with each other and better coordinate defensive responses as needed. The CRC will also serve as an information resource that stakeholders may use to help restore operations following an attack.

As one of the busiest seaports in the world and leading gateway for international trade in North America, the Port of Los Angeles has been the number one container port in the United States for the past twenty years, facilitating $276 billion in trade in 2019 alone. This new initiative with IBM can enhance the quality, quantity and speed of cyber information sharing within the port’s massive third-party ecosystem.

“The Cyber Resilience Center will provide a cutting-edge early warning system to further defend the port and its stakeholders against cyber threats,” Seroka said. “This will result in greater collective knowledge, enhanced data sharing throughout our port ecosystem, and will help to maintain the flow of critical cargo.”

“Collaborative cyber-threat information sharing is critical to the safety and security of our port,” added Thomas Gazsi, Deputy Executive Director/Chief of Public Safety and Emergency Management. “The Cyber Resilience Center is an innovative solution that will put the Port of Los Angeles at the forefront of maritime cybersecurity initiatives.”

The deal includes IBM Security software and services to design, install, operate and maintain the CRC, which will leverage IBM Cloud Pak for Security, X-Force Threat Intelligence and IBM Security SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) to facilitate automated response playbooks to security events and collaboration amongst Port stakeholders. IBM will also collaborate with TruSTAR to leverage their enterprise intelligence management platform for stakeholders to automate and distribute intelligence among the Port of Los Angeles and Port Stakeholders.

The collaboration with IBM Security will provide the Port of Los Angeles’s CRC with cutting edge security technologies and expert services support, including:

•Threat Intelligence – IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence experts bring global and industry threat modelling capabilities to give exclusive maritime threat information. Combined with TruSTAR and Cloud Pak for Security, IBM Security X-Force can apply threat intelligence to systems and individuals for critical decision-making.

•Automated Workflows – IBM Cloud Pak for Security will provide an open security platform to serve as the foundation for CRC activities – allowing them to quickly integrate security tools for deeper intelligence into threats across hybrid cloud environments and respond faster to security incidents. Designed to run in any cloud or on-premise environment and connect openly regardless of the vendor infrastructure, Cloud Pak for Security can automate threat intelligence ingestions from multiple sources, conduct threat analysis and make the anonymized data available to Port stakeholders through a single dashboard that informs their threat awareness and proposed defender actions.

•Orchestrated Responses – IBM Security SOAR can enable teams to codify stakeholders’ incident response processes into dynamic playbooks, accelerating and orchestrating their response to a potential security incident. These automated actions can not only help stakeholders understand security threats, they can help prioritize them.

•SIOC Dedicated Services and Support – IBM will provide on-site Security Intelligence and Operations Center (SIOC) resources and support to manage the CRC and conduct real time threat analysis. IBM’s threat analysts and SIOC experts will help onboard each operation and company and manage Cloud Pak for Security across the Port ecosystem, configuring it to run based on each stakeholders’ needs.

In 2014, the port established the Port of Los Angeles Cyber Security Operations Center, operated by a dedicated cybersecurity team. The center currently serves as a centralized location to proactively monitor the port’s own technology environment to prevent and detect cyber incidents. Since 2015, the port has also maintained its ISO 27001 certification for cyber security, the only port to have this certification.

In support of the port’s Strategic Plan objective of a secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable supply chain, the CRC will implement security and public safety strategies that support goods movement and mitigate risk.

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