Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Thursday that the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, the operator of the largest fuel pipeline in the country, was a “wake-up call” for the US cybersecurity vulnerability.
Colonial is still battling a cybersecurity attack that shut down its entire system on Friday and caused widespread fuel shortages on the east coast. The company resumed operations on Wednesday afternoon, but said the system would not return to normal for several days.
“This was a wake-up call to how actors around the world can influence our home,” Buttigieg said during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box. He added that the entire government’s response to the hack “really paid off”.
Buttigieg’s remarks come a day after President Joe Biden signed an executive order to help strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses.
The president’s order calls on the federal government and the private sector to work together to combat “persistent and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber campaigns” threatening the US
The Department of Energy led the federal response to the attack in coordination with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
Buttigieg said the response included weight restrictions on tanker trucks to address concerns about the shortage, as well as increased flexibility in how workers conduct manual inspections.
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Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Thursday morning the restart of Colonial’s pipeline “went well overnight”.
“This should mean things get back to normal by the end of the weekend,” Granholm wrote in a tweet.
The closure of Colonial led to panic buying in some states and p
hit the national average for a gallon of gasoline above $ 3 for the first time since 2014.
Colonial shut down its system as a proactive measure after being attacked by a cyber criminal group called DarkSide. The company’s pipeline spans 5,500 miles and carries nearly half of all fuel supplies on the east coast, including gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel.
According to the latest data from GasBuddy, gas outages are still occurring in the Southeast, with more than half of the stations in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia being without fuel.
– CNBC’s Pippa Stevens contributed to the coverage