The United States’ pipeline infrastructure, which carries oil, natural gas, and other commodities, is made up of nearly 3 million miles of pipelines. This vital enabler of domestic economic and national security is under constant threat of cyber attack due to its increasing reliance on automation through information technology.
Hackers recently attacked computer systems belonging to the Colonial Pipeline company, forcing them to shut down operations and inhibiting delivery of diesel fuel, gasoline, and jet fuel throughout the East Coast of the United States. The company has responded quickly but cautiously and expects to resume normal operation very soon. In the meantime, a declaration of emergency from the White House allows extended operation of other means of petroleum transport.
Targeted campaigns by malicious actors have become commonplace. As recent breaches show, these threat actors can stay hidden on agency networks for long periods of time, assessing your systems and looking for information to exfiltrate. We call them the enemy with no face.
As government officials begin investigation of the Equifax breach that exposed the sensitive information of 143 million people, what does the breach mean for agencies themselves? After all, the U.S. government stores far more sensitive data than the private sector, and often stores it on older, more vulnerable systems.