When the Clinton administration designated 14 business industries as vital infrastructure in 1998, including chemicals, defence, energy, and financial services, the US government began taking minor efforts to preserve cybersecurity. Finance and power were both regulated as a result. According to Rob Lee, the creator of Dragos, other industries, such as oil and gas, were slower to safeguard their systems. The operational and financial impact of production and installing new tools is one of the causes.
Much of the technological infrastructure is too outdated to support advanced cybersecurity solutions. Hardware ripping and replacement, as well as service disruptions, are both costly. Network administrators are concerned that executing the task piecemeal will make things worse since it will expose a network to hackers, according to Nozomi’s Ms. Carcano.
Even though the Biden administration’s budget contains $20 billion to improve the country’s grid, federal and local officials have previously shrugged off the issue. Even in under-regulated industries like oil and gas, firms that prioritize cybersecurity have received little help.
In 2018, the hacking of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power took only six hours. An invader infiltrated hundreds of computers tied to water facilities across the United States earlier this year. Burglars in Portland, Oregon, planted malicious computers on a system that supplies power to a large portion of the Northwest. L.A. and Portland were two of the situations that were put to the test. Dragos, a cyber-security company, determined that the water danger was genuine.
The digital security of US computer networks that manage the equipment that generates and transports water and power is severely insufficient, a low priority for operators and regulators, and poses a terrible national threat. “If we have a new world war tomorrow and have to worry about protecting infrastructure against a cyberattack from Russia or China, then no, I don’t think we’re where we’d like to be,” said Andrea Carcano, co-founder of Nozomi Networks, a control system security company.
Hackers’ intent on making money or spying has long posed a threat to American computer systems. However, in the previous six months, they’ve been more persistent in targeting organizations that operate operational networks, such as the Colonial Pipeline gasoline system. These are the systems that can contaminate water, cause a gas line to leak, or cause a substation to explode.