Port Fourchon on ‘high alert’ for coronavirus-related rise in maritime cyberassaults

(Photography courtesy Port Fourchon)

Port Fourchon is on ‘high alert’ as ports and maritime interests are seeing more targeted cyberattacks amid the pandemic, WorkBoat reports.

In an interview with the publication, April Danos, director of homeland security and technology for the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, says the pandemic “caught a lot of people off guard. When this all started happening, I put my security team on high alert and upped the vigilance of our network. I could see what was coming, so we got proactive. We want to be efficient, but we still have to be secure.”

As WorkBoat reports, a remote workforce model has provided fertile ground for cybercriminals targeting everything from the inland waterways industry to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

The southern Louisiana port is widely recognized as the world’s premier deepwater oil and gas service and supply base.

Danos tells WorkBoat that conversations with her peers show that ports and maritime interests have “absolutely” seen more targeted hits amid the pandemic. The 60-year-old port has remained secure, even with much of its workforce now outside the port’s Galliano administrative office.

“We’ve been very safe here so far,” Danos tells WorkBoat. “There’s always issues with people working at home and one concern is the wireless networks and how they’re being segregated and if they’re being segregated. We advise people working at home to make sure your business wireless is on a segregated channel, so you don’t have that crossover between personal and business.”

More than 250 different companies, with varied levels of cyberprotection, use Port Fourchon as an operational base. Louisiana’s southernmost port also is home to the separately managed Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the nation’s only deepwater oil export and import terminal with drafts capable of accommodating very large crude carriers (VLCC). With Port Fourchon’s strategic importance to U.S. energy infrastructure, WorkBoat notes, security gets top billing and the initiation of established response plans critical for any impending threat.

WorkBoat has the full story detailing Port Fourchon’s response and the maritime cybersecurity threat.