FBI Shoring Up Cyber Defenses Along Mississippi River

According to a new article from the Associated Press, the New Orleans office of the FBI is hard at work shoring up cyber vulnerabilities along the Mississippi River. AP notes that the region plays host to a plethora of economic activity, from cargo loading/unloading to oil tankers and pipelines, drinking water sources, and plants responsible for chemical and energy production.

According to Eric Rommal, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans office, “Louisiana is a major cyber vulnerability area.”

“Every time that we have a vessel that travels up or down the Mississippi River there’s a vulnerability: that that vessel or persons on those vessels may in fact be doing harm to our systems,” said Rommal. “And that affects the national economy and affects the entire United States.”

Reportedly, in 2017, Louisiana lost $5 million to cybercrime, with 2018 on pace to surpass that number.

In addition to the efforts of the 20-strong FBI staff in Louisiana, Rommal noted the contributions of the National Cyber Investigative Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI’s InfraGard program, which “enlists thousands of private-industry partners from potential cybercrime target sectors.” The body currently boasts 800 Louisiana members.

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