Cybersecurity threats have become increasingly disruptive to business, government, and consumers. The rising threat was brought into sharp focus in May 2021 when the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline abruptly interrupted business operations and gasoline distribution across the southeast United States. This follows the 2020 SolarWinds and Microsoft server breaches, as well as numerous attacks against public sector entities. The transit industry has not escaped attention from targeted system breaches—the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and Vancouver’s Translink are a few of the operators that have recently fallen prey to cyber incidents.
A series of Executive Orders (EOs) and laws over the past several years, including President Biden’s EO 14005 Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers seek to centralize the production of key components of the industrial supply chain here in the United States, specifically, key technical hardware.11 Among the industries and businesses impacted by the EOs are transit providers and their respective vendors. The EOs, although marketed through a patriotic and political lens, address the tangible threat posed to our increasingly hyperconnected lives by a myriad of cyber threats, including ransomware attacks.
Transit operators should expect the heightened focus on supply chain centralization and the need to bolster cyber literacy and protections for the public and private sectors to directly impact their core business and operational considerations, including timely access to affordable product. The need to understand the critical nature of the threats to the transit industry are quickly shifting from good business practices to regulatory compliance.
SCOTT BELCHER, JD, MPP
Scott Belcher is the President and CEO of SFB Consulting, LLC, where he specializes in transportation, transportation technology, the internet of things, smart cities, and the environment. Prior to his role at SFB Consulting, Mr. Belcher served as the CEO of the Telecommunications Industry Association for two years and the President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) for seven years. Mr. Belcher has more than 35 years of private and public sector experience in Washington, D.C. Before joining ITS America, Mr. Belcher held senior management positions at a number of prominent trade associations, worked in private practice at the law firm of Beveridge & Diamond, PC, and served at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Belcher serves on a number of public and private advisory boards. Mr. Belcher holds a JD from the University of Virginia, a Masters of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California.
Harlan Belcher is a Master of Environmental Management student concentrating on Energy at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. Before pursuing his Masters he worked as a wildland firefighter in Northern California for several years.
Kathryn Seckman is a geopolitical risk and strategy professional, specializing in bringing the best practices of the intel sector to global business. She is a Fulbright Scholar, holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a BA in International Relations from Drake University.
BRANDON THOMAS, MBA
Brandon Thomas is a Partner at Grayline Group, a firm focused on helping organizations understand and manage for disruption, as well as a Managing Partner of Blockview Partners, a firm focused on understanding the emerging blockchain and cryptocurrency space. Mr. Thomas has worked in both startup and corporate environments as he discovered his passion for working among disruptions. Mr. Thomas co-wrote the initial data strategy Democratic National Committee that went on to revolutionized campaign politics. He was employee #1 at one of the first software-as-a-services (SaaS) startups in the HR space. More recently, Mr. Thomas has been working on behalf of clients to understand the disruption afoot in the public transit industry. He is co-author of “Chain Reaction: How Blockchain Will Transform the Developing World,” to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in autumn 2020. From the rise of data in politics to the emergence of SaaS to the ubiquitous nature of social media to the emerging blockchain and cryptocurrency realm, Mr. Thomas has worked to build numerous businesses to understand and exploit opportunities spurred by ever-increasing technological change. Brandon received his BA from The George Washington University and his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.