The Port of Los Angeles will establish an “early warning system” to block cyber attacks on its supply chain partners through a $6.8 million, three-year agreement with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), the firms said today.
Under the agreement, IBM will supply the hardware, software, and services needed to operate a Port Cyber Resilience Center (CRC) located at the maritime facility, using it to detect and protect against malicious computer incidents potentially impacting cargo flow.
The announcement follows the port’s 2019 initiative to offer a request for proposal (RFP) for the project, following crippling malware and ransomware attacks on containership lines and other logistics providers. Similar hacks have followed since that time on trucking fleets, freight brokers, and third party logistics providers (3PLs).
“As our Port increasingly relies on data integration to guide its cargo operations and processes, detection and protection against cyber incidents is critical,” Port Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a release. “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.”
The new system will operate largely by improving information sharing between logistics operators, improving on the current situation where companies at the port currently monitor and respond to cyber threats individually. Instead, the CRC will serve as a “system of systems” and a focal point across all participating supply chain stakeholders, while still allowing each firm control over its own information and security protocols, port leaders said.
By hosting that cooperation, 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. In addition, the CRC will serve as an information resource that stakeholders may use to help restore operations following an attack.
"Now more than ever, there’s a critical need for global supply chains to operate securely and undisrupted. We’re honored to partner with the Port of Los Angeles to design and build its Cyber Resilience Center, further strengthening its cyber preparedness," Wendi Whitmore, vice president of the IBM Security X-Force, said in a release. "As the Port of Los Angeles takes these significant steps to strengthen the cyber resilience of its ecosystem, we’re proud it selected IBM’s premier capabilities in threat intelligence, AI and cloud security to help achieve this.”
The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved an agreement with @IBM to design and operate a Cyber Resilience Center at the Port of Los Angeles, focusing on detecting and protecting against malicious cyber incidents potentially impacting cargo flow. https://t.co/OZooVlgMpH pic.twitter.com/mV8SflEDjN— Port of Los Angeles (@PortofLA) December 7, 2020