January 30, 2023

What Could The Cyber Attacks On United States Pipelines Mean For American Security?

The cyber security of the United States is a topic that has barely been touched by political leaders but definitely needs more deliberation to solve future issues. In an age where growing concerns of cyber threats are ever present, the risk of cyber attacks or hacks become more likely by the day. What’s more, network infrastructure of the energy sector is on the top of the list for national security concerns since it’s the life blood of our great nation. Without natural resources, this country wouldn’t be able to sustain its vibrant economy and would slump next to other countries like China. Therefore, assaulting the computer operations of something like an oil pipeline on the east coast is a significant breach of national security. It’s an act so insidious that it deserves heavy investigation.

Most recently, the Colonial Pipeline company which operates 5,500 miles of oil pipeline along the eastern coast of the United States was hit by a cyber attack. The colonial pipeline is the largest oil pipeline in the United States. It pumps nearly 100 million gallons a day and makes up 45% of the east coast oil consumption. The software used to hack the company’s pipeline systems was known as “ransomware”, which is a type of software that infects computers, holds them hostage by freezing them, and asks the victims to pay a ransom fee to unlock the system. The company took measures to stop the malware from spreading by shutting their computers down, but they need more time to understand how the issue started. It’s unknown if a group of domestic hackers were behind the attacks or if it was a foreign regime. One thing is clear though. This is an issue which demands that people strengthen United States infrastructure to ensure security from its enemies, foreign and domestic.

Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time a major hack happened on United States soil. Earlier this year, multiple cyber attacks were conducted on hospitals, schools, and even government buildings. More specifically, a cyber attack conducted this year on the government and multiple large United States corporations was traced back to a company called Solar Winds Corp, which manages network infrastructure for large corporations. The commercial software of Solar Winds was identified as the primary entry point for the hackers who infiltrated the information systems of these mega-companies.

If the infiltration of national and corporate network systems proves anything, it’s that more must be done to secure our country from foreign or domestic invaders. These vulnerabilities make the United States look weak on the world stage. It paints a picture that leads others to believe the U.S can be pushed around, which is a terrible way to portray our great nation. It’s in the interest of the United States government to tighten and secure our infrastructure across all sectors to help ensure safety from those who wish to cause the American people harm. This country is the crown jewel of earth! A beautiful place that deserves tighter security as well as stronger defenses against terrorism!

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