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Pipeline Hack Points to Growing Cybersecurity Risk for Energy System

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Cars lined up for gasoline in Charlotte, NC, earlier this week.

Despite years of warnings, Americas vast network of pipelines, electric grids, and power plants remains acutely vulnerable to cyberattacks with the potential to disrupt energy supplies for millions of people.

Credit: Logan Cyrus/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The audacious ransomware attack that shut down a major fuel pipeline and sent Americans scrambling for gasoline in the Southeast this week was not the first time hackers have disrupted America's aging, vulnerable energy infrastructure. And it's unlikely to be the last.

Across the globe, cyberattackers are increasingly taking aim at the energy systems that underpin modern society. A February report from IBM found that the energy industry was the third most targeted sector for such attacks in 2020, behind only finance and manufacturing. That was up from ninth place in 2019.

"This should be a wake-up call," said Jonathon Monken, a principal at the energy consulting firm Converge Strategies. "When you look at what's most likely to cause disruptions to energy companies today, I think you have to put cybersecurity risks at the top."

From The New York Times
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