The United States was hit by a cyberattack that left a major fueling pipeline offline on late Friday in an effort to prevent disaster by the pipeline’s operators.
Colonial Pipeline runs from Texas to New York and is a critical piece of our energy infrastructure as it carries refined gasoline and jet fuel to supply the East Coast. This attack has highlighted just how vulnerable our energy infrastructure is.
Colonial Pipeline issued a statement on the attack, saying, “On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack. In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. Upon learning of the issue, a leading, third-party cybersecurity firm was engaged, and they have already launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident, which is ongoing. We have contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies.”
While Colonial Pipeline works to ensure that the pipeline can be safely operated, law enforcement and federal agencies have already gotten to work.
It is unknown if the attack was conducted by a foreign state or by a criminal group, and the motives are unknown. According to officials, the investigation is ongoing, and it is too early to tell what exactly happened.
While it is good this situation seems to have been largely consequence-free, it is a good reminder that our infrastructure is a serious weak point.
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