(ConservativeHub.com) – A group of foreign hackers launched a ransomware attack earlier this month on the nation’s largest pipeline. Spanning roughly 5,500 miles, the Colonial Pipeline supplies about 45% of the fuel used on the East Coast. The pipeline had to be shut down for about a week, creating fuel shortages throughout the region due to panic buying.
Colonial ended up paying the hackers nearly $5 million in ransom, but gas prices rose substantially. The hackers supposedly provided the company a key to unlock their computer network. But, it failed to operate properly, and the company ended up spending additional time restoring the system using its backups.
The situation raised serious concerns regarding the nation’s vulnerability to future attacks. It also raised questions regarding the ability of private sector companies and government agencies to deal with cyberattacks and their aftermath.
Colonial Pipeline Hack Prompts New Cyber Security Measures for Pipelines
On May 27, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would be releasing new cybersecurity requirements for pipeline operators soon. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency charged with overseeing pipelines, will implement and monitor the new Security Directive.
The directive will enable the TSA to “better identify, protect against, and respond” to future threats to the nation’s pipeline operations. The upcoming Security Directive will require operators and owners of critical pipelines to report potential and confirmed security incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged the recent Colonial Pipeline attack demonstrated the need for improved cybersecurity for the nation’s pipeline sector. He added that the federal government would work closely with the private sector to support their operations and increase their ability to withstand future attacks.
Our society is increasingly reliant on technology. Isn’t it time the country prioritized vulnerabilities nationwide for all industries, not just pipelines, to prevent future chaos and panic?
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