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Cybersecurity

Pipelines Balked When ‘Blinking Red’ Hack Alert Went Off in 2012

  • 2012 bill came under fire from energy companies, senator says
  • Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack ‘might not have happened’
Colonial Pipeline Storage Tanks As Gas Pumps Run Dry
Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg

A decade ago, after hackers were caught infiltrating natural gas pipeline operations and an al-Qaeda video emerged calling for an “electronic jihad” on U.S. infrastructure, then-Senator Joseph Lieberman tried to sound the alarm.

The system is “blinking red,” Lieberman warned his Senate colleagues during debate on the threat in 2012. “Privately owned and operated cyber infrastructure can well be, and probably some day will be, the target of an enemy attack.”