On Day 109, a ransomware attack on a major U.S. fuel pipeline turns up the heat on Biden’s ability to not just spend on infrastructure, but keep it secure.
Ransomware Attack Cripples Major U.S. Pipeline.
A ransomware attack allegedly executed by hacker group DarkSide crippled the computer systems at Colonial Pipeline, the company that supplies 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel, and shut down a vital, 5,500-mile U.S. pipeline over the weekend.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on CBS Sunday that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the attack and that the Biden government was working “all hands on deck” to restore pipeline operations. The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency declaration to create flexibility for transporting fuel and mitigate disruptions to supply.
“Colonial Pipeline is the country’s largest refined products pipeline operator, transporting more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil, daily,” Business Insider reported. “A prolonged shutdown could roil fuel markets, disrupt supply to the East Coast and cause the price of gasoline to jump just as coronavirus pandemic restrictions lift and Americans begin summer travel.”
The attack draws attention again to the fact that Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan doesn’t include a strategy for securing critical infrastructure investments against cyberattacks or espionage—and experts admit that current federal guidelines are not clear or robust enough to condition infrastructure funding on security. On April 20, the White House separately announced a 100-day effort to bolster U.S. cybersecurity in various infrastructure sectors, beginning with the electric grid.