Will Federal Budgets Cuts Open the Port of Los Angeles to Cyber Attacks?


    Businesses face many difficulties throughout their lifespan. Ebbs and flows of the busy seasons, revenue being inconsistent, and lack of basic business knowledge are all challenges that business owners face. While these constants have been a challenge since time immemorial, new threats are also emerging. Cyber attacks also threaten modern institutions, and some do not make it through to the other side. In fact, 60% of small businesses don’t even survive for six months after a cyber attack.

    Although it was only a temporary issue, the Port of Los Angeles closed down after a cyber attack on shipping giant Maersk occurred last June. According to My News LA, the Port of Los Angeles receives thousands of cyber intrusion attempts each month. The cyber attack on Maersk shut the port’s terminal down for three days.

    My News LA tells us that “the port itself and its computers were not hit in the cyber-attack and the port’s other seven terminals operated normally during the shutdown.” In short, the port itself was not affected by the cyber attack, but a major international shipping company that uses the port was. However, the port officials felt the need to shut down in order to protect itself.

    The same attackers hit over 65 countries, and Maerk’s operations were impacted around the globe. Maersk has said that 17 of its shipping container terminals worldwide were hacked. For this reason, Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said, “It’s critical to our nation’s security and economy that federal maritime security funding be maintained at adequate levels.”

    Unfortunately, the Trump administration does not agree.

    A member of the House Committee on Homeland Security reported to My News LA that “the Trump administration has proposed cutting the program 52% from last year’s funding level.”

    Some United States congressional representatives are fighting for the budget to stay intact, however. The letter written by these representative asks that funding for the security program remain at a level no less than $100 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2017 funding and the fiscal year 2018 level approved by the House Appropriations Committee.