WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A ransomware attack and shutdown of the largest fuel pipeline in the United States has led to panic at the pumps over fears of gas shortages and rising prices.
Government officials say the Russian government’s SolarWinds 2020 cyber-hack should have been a wake-up call.
“A foreign adversary was able to infiltrate and spy on nine federal agencies and dozens of private companies, all at the same time,” Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) said during a hearing this week.
Instead, the United States faces yet another cyberattack, this time on the nation’s largest fuel pipeline.
President Joe Biden said the latest attack was linked to a Russian gang, not the Russian government. Yet officials like Senator Peters say the United States must do more to protect itself.
“We also need to rethink our approach to cyberwarfare,” he said. “Our foreign adversaries like the Chinese and Russian governments are not resting.”
Brandon Wales, of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said stepping up security will require significant changes.
“It won’t be easy, easy or cheap,” Wales said. “But the cost of not doing it is just too high.”
There is a bipartisan Senate proposal to provide $ 20 million over seven years to combat cyber attacks. But Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) said the problems go beyond funding.
“The SolarWinds and Pulse Secure VPN attacks targeted federal agencies and yet private sector companies found them. This should be of concern to all of us, ”said Portman.
Lawmakers are also concerned that government agencies will not be transparent with Congress about the attacks.