The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved an agreement with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to design and operate a Cyber Resilience Center (CRC) at the Port of Los Angeles. Focused on detecting and protecting against malicious cyber incidents potentially impacting cargo flow, this first-of-its-kind system is also expected to greatly improve the quality, quantity and speed of cyber information sharing within the Port community.
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. Stakeholders will have the opportunity to contribute threat data to the CRC as well as benefit from the more extensive and accumulated threat intelligence made available to them through it.
“The Cyber Resilience Center will provide a cutting-edge early warning system to further defend the Port and its stakeholders against cyber threats,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “This will result in greater collective knowledge, enhanced data sharing throughout our Port ecosystem, and will help to maintain the flow of critical cargo.”
In 2014, the Port established the nation’s first 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.
The $6.8 million, three-year agreement with the Port of LA includes IBM Security software and services to design, install, operate and maintain the CRC. The Board recommendation to select IBM was based on a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process conducted by the Port. The new CRC 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 among 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 modeling 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.
“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,” said Wendi Whitmore, vice president of IBM Security X-Force. “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.”
Currently, companies and stakeholders at the Port monitor and respond to cyber threats individually. 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.
“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.”
Republished from Marine Construction Magazine Issue I, 2021