Cyber-Attack on US Natural Gas Pipeline Companies Network, Said DHS

Cyber-Attack on US Natural Gas Pipeline Companies Network, Said DHS

In a report Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said a major cyber attack is currently under way aimed squarely at computer networks belonging to US natural gas pipeline companies. DHS has issued at least three confidential warnings at the second highest alert level (Amber) to natural gas suppliers, giving a detailed warning of a wave of attacks. But the wave of cyber attacks, which apparently began four months ago – and may also affect Canadian natural gas pipeline companies – is continuing. That fact was reaffirmed late Friday in a public, albeit less detailed, "incident response" report from the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), an arm of DHS based in Idaho Falls, Idaho. It reiterated warnings in the earlier confidential alerts made directly to pipeline companies and some power companies. The attacks are said to have been carried out using spear-phishing techniques, in which criminals use specially crafted virus-infected emails to target specific company employees. 
Approximately 200,000 miles of these interstate natural gas transmission pipelines in the US supply 25 percent of the nation's energy. Pipeline safety has been a major issue in recent years, highlighted by the San Bruno, Calif. In Friday's public warning, ICS-CERT reaffirms that its "analysis of the malware and artifacts associated with these cyber attacks has positively identified this activity as related to a single campaign from a single source." It goes on to broadly describe a sophisticated "spear-phishing" campaign – an approach in which cyber attackers attempt to establish digital beachheads within corporate networks.


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