New Cybersecurity Framework Profile to Help Ensure Safe Transfer of Hazardous Liquids at Ports

NCCoe Partners with United States Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) oversees approximately 800 waterfront facilities that, among other activities, transfer hazardous liquids between marine vessels and land-based pipelines, tanks or vehicles. These “maritime bulk liquid transfers” increasingly rely on computers to operate valves and pumps, monitor sensors and perform many other vital safety and security functions. This makes the whole system more vulnerable to cybersecurity issues ranging from malware to human error, and is the reason behind a new voluntary cybersecurity guide for the industry.

Maritime bulk liquid transfer processes are part of a complex and sophisticated supply chain of the oil and natural gas industry that brings together various types of organizations and systems. The USCG and industry representatives joined with the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to develop the Maritime Bulk Liquid Transfer Cybersecurity Framework Profile to help those organizations assess their cybersecurity risk.

The document is the first in a series of planned profiles that will help maritime industry organizations make the most of the voluntary Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, published by NIST in February 2014. The profile pulls into one document recommended cybersecurity safeguards to provide a starting point for organizations to review and adapt their risk management processes, and it describes a desired minimum state of cybersecurity.

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