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New Pipeline Cybersecurity Requirements Issued by Biden Administration

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Colonial Pipeline storage tanks in Woodbridge, N.J., on May 10. A ransomware attack on Colonial shut down a major fuel conduit for nearly a week in May.



Photo:

Ted Shaffrey/Associated Press

WASHINGTON—The Biden administration on Tuesday issued new cybersecurity requirements for U.S. pipeline operators intended to help guard against ransomware and other forms of disruptive hacking, a move that comes months after a Russia-based criminal hacking group forced a major fuel conduit on the East Coast to shut down for nearly a week.

The Transportation Security Administration directive is the first of its kind to mandate certain pipeline operators designated by the federal government as critical to adopt specific cybersecurity standards. It follows an earlier TSA directive in May that required pipelines to notify federal authorities when they are targets or victims of cyberattacks.

“The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on our collective ability to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from evolving threats,” Homeland Security Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas

said in a statement. “Through this security directive, DHS can better ensure the pipeline sector takes the steps necessary to safeguard their operations from rising cyber threats, and better protect our national and economic security.”

Biden administration officials didn’t make the text of the directive immediately available. In a statement, DHS said it would require owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines to “implement specific mitigation measures to protect against ransomware attacks and other known threats” and to provide for recovery plans.

Critical infrastructure cybersecurity grew as an area of concern for Biden administration officials following the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in May.

Ransomware attacks are increasing in frequency, victim losses are skyrocketing, and hackers are shifting their targets. WSJ’s Dustin Volz explains why these attacks are on the rise and what the U.S. can do to fight them. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann

Cyberattacks and Business

Write to Dustin Volz at dustin.volz@wsj.com

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