(CNN)A cyberattack forced the temporary shut down of one of the US’ largest pipelines Friday, highlighting already heightened concerns over the vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical infrastructure.
The operator, Colonial Pipeline, said Saturday that the incident involves ransomware.
The attack comes amid rising concerns over the cybersecurity vulnerabilities in America’s critical infrastructure following recent incidents, and after the Biden administration last month launched an effort to beef up cybersecurity in the nation’s power grid, calling for industry leaders to install technologies that could thwart attacks on the electricity supply.
Colonial, which transports more than 100 million gallons of gasoline and other fuel daily from Houston to the New York Harbor, according to its website, said it learned of the cyberattack on Friday, causing them to pause operations.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
Colonial said it engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to launch an investigation into the “nature and scope of this incident” and also contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies. A spokeswoman for FireEye confirmed to CNN on Saturday evening that FireEye Mandiant had been hired to manage the investigation.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is “engaged with the company and our interagency partners regarding the situation,” Eric Goldstein, the executive assistant director of CISA’s cybersecurity division, said in a statement Saturday.
“This underscores the threat that ransomware poses to organizations regardless of size or sector,” he said. “We encourage every organization to take action to strengthen their cybersecurity posture to reduce their exposure to these types of threats.”
President Joe Biden was briefed about the shutdown on Saturday morning, a White House spokesperson said.
“The federal government is working actively to assess the implications of this incident, avoid disruption to supply, and help the company restore pipeline operations as quickly as possible,” the White House spokesperson said.
A White House official said analysis is ongoing to determine whether supply might become an issue following the event. The White House is planning for a number of scenarios, the official said, and is working with state and local authorities to determine what possible steps may need
Cyberattack forces major US fuel pipeline to shut down
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