15 July 2014 – US authorities recently released a report which concluded that the US Department of Homeland Security needs to better address port cyber security. The operations at ports are supported by information and communication systems. These systems are susceptible to cyber-related threats, i.e. the movements of containers from ships to trucks can be hacked. Failure in the port IT systems could disrupt operations at shipping ports with potentially significant effects for those companies which rely on the cargo imported through the ports. There have been reports by Europol about recent cyber attacks against the port in Antwerp. In 2013, criminals allegedly hacked into the IT system of the Belgian port to smuggle drugs into the country by taking control of the computers of two container terminals and a harbor company. Apart from criminals, corrupt employees and terrorists could also try to take over control of port IT systems.
Nicolai Behr is a compliance and dispute resolution attorney in Baker & McKenzie’s Munich office. He is a member of the steering committee of GlobalComplianceNews, a compliance news website with global reach moderated by Baker & McKenzie. He is a member of the committee "International" of the German Institute for Compliance. Dr. Behr is a regular speaker on compliance and white collar topics.