The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin efforts to regulate the cybersecurity of the nation’s pipelines following the ransomware hack of Colonial Pipeline earlier this month, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The effort will purportedly be led by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), whose new directive will require pipeline operators to report cyber incidents to both the TSA and to CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency).
It will also require companies to assess their systems’ security compared to existing guidelines and to maintain a cyber official with a 24/7 direct line to TSA and CISA in the event of an attack.
“This is the first step, and the department views it as a first step, and it will be followed by a much more robust directive that puts in place meaningful requirements that are meant to be durable and flexible as technology changes,” said a senior DHS official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Whereas the Department of Transportation (DOT) is still in charge of ensuring the day-to-day operational success of the US’ pipelines, the TSA became responsible for their safety from malign actors in 2002 as part of the nation’s post-9/11 security reforms.
The decision to regulate the cybersecurity of the US’s pipelines comes after the ransomware cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, one of the nation’s largest providers of fuel that provides around 45 percent of the gasoline to the country’s East Coast.
Colonial reportedly paid a ransom of about $5 million to Russia-based hackers, against the advice of the US government, and regained access to their systems.