The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new security directive Thursday morning in response to the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that crippled fuel supply chain on the east coast for multiple days in May.
“The recent ransomware attack on a major petroleum pipeline demonstrates that the cybersecurity of pipeline systems is critical to our homeland security,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
Owners of pipelines in the U.S. will now be required to report all attempted and successful cyber attacks on their networks to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), as well as to designate a cybersecurity coordinator who will be on call 24/7.
The directive will also require pipeline owners to reevaluate network security protocols while identifying any gaps in their networks. They are required to report these findings to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), DHS, and CISA within 30 days.
Many security analysts and infrastructure specialists have noted that the Colonial Pipeline attack highlighted the reliance of millions of people in the U.S. on just a few key pipelines that distribute gas for their vehicles.
This makes the pipelines in question high-risk targets for cyber attacks that would be targeted at crippling massive portions of the U.S. infrastructure.
The new directives are largely a response to this growing concern, with TSA officials proposing further mandatory security requirements for pipelines in the future.
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