Secretary of Energy Says Enemies Being Able to Shut Down the US Power Grid and Paying Ransom Makes the Problem WORSE
- Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in an interview on CNN that the US energy grid is vulnerable to enemy attacks
- In a separate Sunday interview on NBC, she said she believes paying ransoms to hackers only “exacerbates” the problem.
- In early May, the colonial pipeline was shut down after a ransomware attack and the private company paid the hackers $4.4 million
- President Joe Biden and his administration are reportedly making combating cyber-attacks one of their top priorities as they meet with foreign leaders
The United States’ energy grid is vulnerable to enemy attack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Sunday.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Granholm on “State of the Union” whether the nation’s adversaries have the ability to shut down the energy grid.
“Yes, they do,” she said in a horrifying warning to the country.
“There are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector in general. It happens all the time. That is why the private sector and the public sector must work together.’
Granholm’s statement comes at a time when cyber attacks are on the rise.
Late last week, the US Department of Justice increased the priority of investigations into ransomware attacks to a similar priority to terrorism in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack, a senior department official told Reuters.
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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm (right) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday said the nation’s enemies have the potential to shut down the energy grid
Aerial view of the colonial pipeline’s fuel tanks. On May 7, the cybercriminal group DarkSide attacked the colonial pipeline, cutting off the fuel supply for several days
The colonial pipeline hack in early May shut down the largest pipeline on the East Coast for several days, and some southern states are still reeling from the shutdown as many gas stations are still empty a month later.
Colonial paid the hackers the $4.4 million ransom, something Granholm is personally opposed to.
In a separate interview on Sunday — this time on NBC’s “Meet the Press” — she said that cyber-attacks are a “big problem” in this right in the United States, and that paying ransom “exacerbates” the problem with a bad to send message.
“Everyone should do their very best — not just to protect themselves, but to tell the federal government if they’re the target of an attack,” she said in Meet the Press.
An immediate change is to ensure that energy companies, which are mostly private companies, immediately notify the federal government if they are victims of a cyber attack.
In the long term, President Joe Biden is expected to make international cyber-attacks a priority on his first overseas trip to speak with European leaders and meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland. CNN reported.
The Energy Secretary praised the Biden administration’s efforts to combat cyber-attacks, saying in the CNN interview.
“Working with other countries, working with the private sector, working within our own government – the President has issued these executive orders to make sure our own house is in order – [and] ensuring that citizens can protect themselves’ is necessary to prevent cyber attacks.
Some southern states are still feeling the effects of the colonial pipeline shutdown in early May, with many gas stations still running out of fuel
And military action is an option, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday, according to the New York Post.
Raimondo was asked on ABC’s ‘This Week’ whether the US should take a more aggressive approach to ransomware attacks that appear to be coming largely from Russia.
“We will not stand for a nation that supports or turns a blind eye to a criminal enterprise,” Raimondo told host George Stephanopoulos.
“And as the president has said, we consider all our options and take nothing off the table when we consider possible repercussions, consequences or retaliation.”