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Microsoft Security

Why the Pipeline Cybersecurity Initiative is a critical step

It’s well known by now that pipeline attacks and attacks on utilities of all kinds have been an unfortunately well-trodden path by cyber-adversaries in numerous countries for a few years now. These types of attacks are not theoretical, and the damage done to date—as well as the potential damage—is significant.

With this backdrop, it was encouraging to see a few months ago that that the U.S. Government was working in a coordinated fashion to push for a more coordinated effort around pipeline security. As part of the annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month each October, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) met with the Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council (ONG SCC) to discuss ongoing threats having to do with pipeline security, resulting in the Pipeline Cybersecurity Initiative.

According to Hunton Andrews Kurth, the Pipeline Cybersecurity Initiative “will harness DHS’s cybersecurity resources, DOE’s energy sector expertise, and the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) assessment of pipeline security to provide intelligence to natural gas companies and support ONG SCC’s efforts.”

And even though the Pipeline Cybersecurity Initiative is in its earliest stages, it’s worth discussing the key items that it relates to and how it might impact better cybersecurity hygiene going forward across the industry as a whole:

To those of us in the cybersecurity world, energy security as it relates to cyberthreats has been a concern for a while. The known attacks have been disconcerting and people beyond the energy industry have recognized this. Practitioners and defenders have been doing fabulous work, and the Pipeline Cybersecurity Initiative will help ensure that additional resources, information-sharing, and coordination will help mitigate additional cyber-related risks against the U.S. energy industry in the coming years. For more information on infrastructure security, read Defending critical infrastructure is imperative and listen to the Cybersecurity Tech Accord web seminar, Cyberattacks on infrastructure.