US President Joe Biden

Cybersecurity: White House Directs Pipeline Firms To Report cyberattacks To Government Henceforth

*United States President Joe Biden administration wants to enhance security in the wake of cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline, and how cybersecurity of pipeline systems is critical to the country’s homeland security

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In view of the far-reaching repercussions of a cyberattack on a pipeline and how the Colonial Pipeline was hit by one in the country recently, United States (US) President Joe Biden administration has announced that it will require the leading pipeline companies to necessarily disclose any significant cyberattacks to the government from now on.

ConsumerConnect learnt companies currently, are not required to report cyberattacks, meaning experts do not have a clear picture of how vulnerable the industry is to hackers.

Nonetheless, earlier May 2021, the repercussions of a cyberattack on a pipeline were on full display after the iconic Colonial Pipeline was hit by malware attacks in the US.

The incident has led to panic, fuel shortages and rising prices of gasoline across nearly half of the East Coast in the country.

Alejandros N. Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, said Thursday, May 27 that the Colonial Pipeline case showed “that the cybersecurity of pipeline systems is critical to our homeland security.

“Ransomware, which is primarily criminal and profit-driven, can rise to the level of posing a national security risk and disrupt national critical functions.

In respect of the new security directive, besides requiring major pipeline companies to report cyberattacks, the Biden administration’s new directive calls for the creation of 24-hour emergency centres focused on heading off these threats if they do occur, agency report said.

According to the government, a cybersecurity coordinator will be designated to coordinate with both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which was tasked with controlling pipeline security post-September 11, 2001, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the event of a cyberattack.

Report also noted that it is unclear “what that employee would be empowered to do other than raise an alarm.”

The order also requires pipeline companies to “identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks” and report them to the TSA and CISA within the next 30 days.

Homeland Security officials added that they will “continue to work closely with our private-sector partners to support their operations and increase the resilience of our nation’s critical infrastructure.”

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