Does Maersk Count as US Critical Infrastructure?

I Back when Sony Pictures got hacked after Sony Everything Else had been hacked serially over the course of 15 years, the US government declared that multinational studio owned by a Japanese parent US critical infrastructure entitled to heightened cybersecurity protection. That’s one of the bases for which the US imposed sanctions on North Korea. The designation also ramped up the ways in which FBI could help Sony.

The listing of a multinational movie studio as critical infrastructure led many people to understand just how broad the definition of CI is in the US, including (in the same Commercial Facilities Sector) a bunch of things that might better be called soft targets.

  • Entertainment and Media (e.g., motion picture studios, broadcast media).
  • Gaming (e.g., casinos).
  • Lodging (e.g., hotels, motels, conference centers).
  • Outdoor Events (e.g., theme and amusement parks, fairs, campgrounds, parades).
  • Public Assembly (e.g., arenas, stadiums, aquariums, zoos, museums, convention centers).
  • Real Estate (e.g., office and apartment buildings, condominiums, mixed use facilities, self-storage).
  • Retail (e.g., retail centers and districts, shopping malls).
  • Sports Leagues (e.g., professional sports leagues and federations).

That’s when I learned that DHS was on the hook for protecting Yogi Bear Jellystone and KOA campground facilities around the country from cyberattack.

Since 2014, DHS belatedly added one thing to its critical infrastructure designation: elections. Though DHS doesn’t appear to have updated the website to reflect that designation yet (though maybe I’m missing it; I’ll call tomorrow to ask them where it is).

Anyway, the global impact of the NotPetya (which I’ll henceforth call Nyetna, because that’s my favorite name for it) attack, particularly its impact on Danish shipping giant Maersk, has me wondering whether anything Nyetna affected counts as would count as critical infrastructure. The impact on Maersk has had significant effect at several ports in the US.

Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, one of the global companies hardest hit by the malware, said Thursday that most of its terminals are now operational, though some terminals are “operating slower than usual or with limited functionality.”

Problems have been reported across the shippers’ global business, from Mobile, Alabama, to Mumbai in India. When The Associated Press visited the latter city’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust on Thursday, for example, it witnessed several hundred containers piled up at just two yards, out of more than a dozen yards surrounding the port.

“The vessels are coming, the ships are coming, but they are not able to take the container because all the systems are down,” trading and clearing agent Rajeshree Verma told the AP. “The port authorities, they are not able to reply (to) us. The shipping companies they also don’t know what to do. … We are actually in a fix because of all this.”

Probably the most important impact was on Maersk’s terminal in LA.

A cyberattack that infected computers across Europe and then spread into the United States halted operations at the Port of Los Angeles’ largest terminal Tuesday — and raised worries that destructive software could ricochet around the world and disrupt the critical supply chain.

APM Terminals — where Danish shipping carrier A.P. Moller-Maersk operates — turned truckers away all day, as did their terminals in Rotterdam, New York and New Jersey.

So does Maersk, and the 18% of global container shipping business it carries, count as US critical infrastructure?

Given that Maersk, not the several ports affected, is the victim, it’s not clear. Here’s how DHS defines the CI aspect of maritime shipping.

  • Maritime Transportation System consists of about 95,000 miles of coastline, 361 ports, more than 25,000 miles of waterways, and intermodal landside connections that allow the various modes of transportation to move people and goods to, from, and on the water.

But if Sony can count as US CI, it seems Maersk (or any comparable shipping giant) should as well.

It may not matter, as the Executive Branch seems to be hiding even further under their bed than they were after the WannaCry attack, with this being the one mention of the hack from the White House.

SECRETARY PERRY:  So let’s get over on the grid.  Obviously, the Department of Energy has a both scientific, they have a historic reason to be involved with that.  One is that, at one of our national labs, we have a test grid of which we are able to go out — one of the reasons that the Department of Homeland Security and DOE is involved with grid security is that DOE operates a substantial grid — a test grid, if you will — where we can go out and actually break things.  We can infest it with different viruses and what have you to be able to analyze how we’re going to harden our grid so that Americans can know that our country is doing everything that it can to protect, defend this country against either cyberattacks that would affect our electrical security or otherwise.

So the ability for us to be able to continue to lead the world — I think we all know the challenges.  We saw the reports as late as today of what’s going on in Ukraine.  And so protecting this country, its grid against not just cyber, but also against physical attacks, against attacks that may come from Mother Nature, weather-related events — all of that is a very important part of what DOE, DHS is doing together.

DHS is preoccupied rolling out Muslim Ban 3.0 and other flight restrictions.

By all appearances, Nyetna primarily targeted Ukraine. But in hitting Ukraine, it significantly disabled one of the key cogs to the global economy, the world’s biggest container shipping company. Does that count as an attack on the US, or at least its critical infrastructure?

Update: I’ve confirmed that “shipping lines” are included in Maritime Transportation. So Maersk would seem to count as critical infrastructure.


18 replies
  1. Evangelista says:

    “Does Maersk Count as US Critical Infrastructure?”

    On one hand (top right on Kali), the one-percenter owner-investor class says “Yes”, arguing that the US is a non-productive feudal Boyer-Serf divided geographic entity (not a ‘nation’ to these, the Global-economics oriented, controlled and controlling international oligarchs) dependent on imports and importation for everything except irrationally restive voters.

    On another hand (top left on Kali) the restive, irrational and primarily rust-belt, corn-belt, cotton-and-tobacco-belt, heartland and all except the obedient-automaton dominated seaboard and coastal -belts voters say “Hell No!  Keep those under-pricing, market-breaking cheap-import dumping, sweat-shop-scum built imports out of America!  We can produce our own!”

    On another hand (Kali’s second down, right)  the seaboard and coastal second, third, fourth and so forth tier elites say, “Well, will it bring prices down more, or again?  We like the cheap import stuff, but there just isn’t as much money down here as there used to be…  We mean, the guys at the top have got to agree to take less profit, or start leaking down more;  our means to purchase are drying up…  Like we can’t afford…  I mean, its like we are, I mean, this far from pay-day-loan-land, man. It ain’t supposed to be us getting interest-fucked.  We aren’t the poor.”

    On another hand (Kali’s left middle) the minimum-wage poor are arguing, “Fifteen an Hour!  Fifteen an Hour!  It’s an Outrage!  We need a Living Wage!”  How we supposed to buy even cheap-shit you don’t raise our wage?”

    On another hand (Kali’s right lower-middle) on the Pacific Rim shippers are saying, “Maersk?  Aren’t they European?  Is some fat, stupid and senile nation of cockroach-locust consumer-baboons forgetting there is a Brave New World over here?  So who cares about the Old World, bitchy, crotchety, sanctions-constipated, whining, complaining…  To Hell with them.  We’ve got goods and ships to ship them in.  Look West!”

    On another hand, (Kali’s left lower-middle) merchants in Mexico are saying, “Maersk?  Ships?  We don’t need no stinkin’ ships!  Bribe a politician, blow off the wall business, open the highways across.  Buy American!  But not ‘El Norte’ American:  They don’t know how to make anything anymore, except cops stupid.  Tell you what;  import-export Special:  We trade to you goods, you trade to us bads, like all your ICE cops, and we trade them back to you as dogfood…  Hey?  A deal you can’t refuse…”

    On yet another hand (Kali’s lower right) the made homeless and sinking ex-middle class is saying, “Who cares?  There’s still have stuff  around we can steal.  We know because it was all stolen from us, by the top two-percent.”

    While on yet another hand (Kali’s lower left) the lower classes, who have long been poor, are saying, “Maersk?  Yeah, I lived in a Maersk a while.  Before that in a Ford, but it got towed.  Took all my shit, too.  All I had in the world;  sleepingbag, tarp, my winter coat;  threw them all in a dumpster looked like a Maersk, you know, one of them containers.  Fuckers!  You see all these new people coming down, don’t know their way ’round?  You see they got guns?  And I was talking to one, and he was talkin’ blowing into gated communities…  I mean, how many guys with guns it take to blow off a gate-guard and take over and clean it out?  Or, yeah, take and keep it, like the Muslims in Sweden…  I mean, they got guns in those places, too, and we get those guns, too…  I mean, they’re only two percent, and they can’t have more than five-ten percent are cops and their guards…  So Maersk-smaersk,  who cares about imports we been robbed of jobs and homes and housing and everything and so can’t anymore afford?  All we need is here, beyond those gates.  We don’t need it imported, just liberated!”

    You know, there was one time, back before the Age of American Corruption, when the symbol of the United States was a Statue of Liberty, not Kalli.  The Statue of Liberty came from France, in Old Europe.  Kalli is an import from India, so the change is like, totally twenty-first century…



    • bmaz says:

      Excellent. 686 words of run on gibberish asininity. Thank you for proving my point. You may think your run on stream conscience blather is critical to this blog, but you are sadly mistaken.

      What drew the amazing commentariat to this blog, light years intellectually, and a decade or more temporally ago, was the exact opposite of your commentary diarrhea and run on horse manure.

      And if you, and your johnny come lately ilk, want to come at me, take your best shot. I will be right here, where I was before you, and will be long after you.

  2. lefty665 says:

    Interesting. With the interpretations the AUMFs have gotten to allow global US wars of aggression, and globalized trade deals like NAFTA is there any reason to think US critical infrastructure would be interpreted any less globally? If it’s good enough for Sony AND Yogi Bear, surely it’s good enough for the world.  Maersk must be considered to be in interstate commerce so it hits that base too. Some of the Nyetna traffic must have touched US servers so we touch that base. But as you note, what difference does it make, DHS is all wrapped up in MUSLIMS!  Nyetna need not worry, DHS is busy, busy, busy. On the other hand, the rest of us…

  3. Rayne says:

    Is Maersk critical infrastructure? You already know the answer. If even a single container on a single vessel carries components for defense industry, Maersk is critical infrastructure, and certainly more so than freaking leak-like-a-sieve Sony Entertainment. Nobody faced an existential crisis because Sony was hacked, although perhaps Sony should have.

    If Maersk carries:

    — agricultural products we don’t grow;

    — water piping or purification products;

    — medical supplies we don’t make;

    — information/communication technology we don’t make;

    — energy industry supplies or commodities like oil and gas;

    — chemicals we don’t make or precursors to ones we do;

    — manufacturing equipment we don’t make.

    Maersk is critical infrastructure for the U.S.

    By the same measure Maersk is critical infrastructure for other countries as well. This may be the best argument for NATO’s Article 5 if the attack continues because of fresh infections.

    May explain why the author(s) of the original Petya came forward to deny any relationship to NotPetya/Nyetya. Wouldn’t want to be on the shit list of every country.

    It’d be nice if we didn’t have hacks employed as cabinet members – folks who actually grasped what was going on with regard to critical infrastructure and had competent staff addressing it.

    • lefty665 says:

      Many of our defense electronics use Chinese and other far eastern sourced components, so they must all be critical US infrastructure too.  Wonder if the Chinese et al will object to our unilaterally intrusively “protecting” our critical infrastructure that happens to be owned, operated, and located in their territory? Could this be a slippery and perhaps steep slope? Nyet nah. Piece of cake (that’s critical infrastructure too).


  4. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Maersk almost completely up and running now. Good IT. Another day or so to get the ships moving.

  5. b says:

    The question misses the bigger point.

    Are Intel or Microsoft products China critical infrastructure? Would the U.S. accept Chinese “protective” interference  in them?

    • lefty665 says:

      Hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Perhaps the friendly Russians might choose to “protect” us too.  If all the reports are to believed they already have considerable access.

  6. Evangelista says:


    Your last paragraph, with its “And if you, and your johnny come lately ilk, want to come at me, take your best shot.” defensive-aggressive stance stumped me when I read it.
    What, I wondered, could have triggered that? All the rest of your comment on my comment I could put down to your not having an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish wife at home to beat on (one of those who belief in ‘God’s Word’ is strong enough she would measure your thumb and go out to cut you a rod, her own self).

    Then I reread my Kalification of Revolution allegory and I saw it: You, of course, put me down as a lowest kind of lefty, in that category on Kali, and you live in a gated community…What can I say? I was writing allegory. I swear to God (the other one, not the one who advocates beating women with whip-to-broom-handle size rods) I had, and have, no intention of slogging out through the swamps of the desert to find your ‘Secured Estate’ and leading (or following) any bunch of middle-class armed and angry po’ folk in to “Swing all the lawyers on the gates!”, as those folks advocate (especially the ones still owe on bills “…was all [they] got, ‘cept a courtroom floor-show that didn’t do nuthin’ ‘cept piss-off the judge even more.”).

    Don’t worry; ignore me; Find you a wife already! Or, if you aren’t Ultra-Orthodox Jewish, get a football and paint it to look like a Doberman (or Rotweiler) so you can kick it instead of us innocent commenters…

    • John Casper says:

      So, Evangelista, you want to be banned?

      Based on what you wrote below, I think you’re well on your way.

      “….your not having an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish wife at home to beat on…”

      • Evangelista says:


        These are Ultra-Orthodox women who will cut the rod themselves, to signal their personal acceptance of Scriptural Sharia — the ones who won’t cut their own being quite possibly Pragmatic Orthodox, Orthodox for wanting their children to not grow up to be Palestinian-Killer Ashcan-Nazis, who are likely, with one experience of the rod, to look for a Progressive lawyer and resort to Law of the Land for protection from Scriptural Sharia (an option everyone has to escape from any parochial law system).  The Law of the Land resorting do have to forswear the parochialism, since, in all parochialisms, it is membership that gives the parochial system’s parochial law it authority.  As the Baptists have demonstrated, leaving a parochialism does not mean one must do without what one sought for benefits;  one just starts a new ‘cult’, one that ‘God learned some Self-control (perhaps from the debacle that resulted from kicking everyone out of the Garden for Eve’s being tempted to have some education) and, today, with the product of that Fruit at his disposal, Man can damn-well use it to think of better ways to bring everyone together and onto on the same page than simple-mindedly grabbing up a stick and going to beating.

        It is for the Law of the Land (based on the Constitution in the United States, since ALL other law is parochial, including that of the so-called ‘US Code’) that the current howls against Islamic Sharia are moot and null.  The howlers are just bone-headed Crusaders for their own parochial systems that they would rather impose (and usually impose on all of us instead of legitimate Public Law, law conformant to the controls of the English Law Principle, that the United States Constitution imposes obligation on who would govern to safeguard and preserve).

        The element that makes republican government unpopular among those who dream of being rulers is that for its re-public component republican government imposes responsibilities on the governing, instead of assigning them authorities.  Ruler types always want to be authorities, have rods to take up, to beat The People into submissions.  Democracies allow them to manipulate, to divide and frame, re-frame and falsely-phrase questions to manipulate, dividing and diverting and deceiving constituencies and voters, and to game voting and voe-counting systems to cheat The People and falsely “lead” them.  And not face nooses for their betrayals of re-public-an principles and ignorings of the responsibilities the Constitution imposes on them.

        [This message on behalf of the U.S. Constitution and Republic it sought to provide ground-rules for is brought to you through the kindly indulgence of Ms. Wheeler and for bmaz being frustrated to speechlessness, at least for the moment.]

        • bmaz says:

          Listen you loquacious gibberish filled tortured soul, you can flat shove that baloney. If you are testing who will win out here, that is going to be a losing proposition for you.

          And after moronically and repugnantly dredging my wife, religion and dog into your recent asinine comments, you might want to think twice, and carefully, about where you go now.

  7. lou E says:

    it.s no secret in europe that a large piece of Maersk Norway is owned by the Bush (nazi flight capital) Crime family. The taxpayer fueled railyard in Chicago had only 1 “foreign” company in on the intermodal ground floor that was Bush 41. Sealand was looted by John Snow Bush 43 treasury secretary then the non-Jones act ships were sold off by CSX to Maersk! all approved by 43. The 5th column has been eating our lunch for 70 years at least. When about 8 percent of our foreign trade is carried on US Owned and Flagged and manned ships, control of trade has passed to other entities than the hamsters here in Whoville

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