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Image by Colonial Pipeline Company, via BBC

Fossil Fuels

“An 8th-Grader Could Have Hacked” The Koch-Owned Colonial Pipeline

Colonial pipeline operators began restarting operations Wednesday evening but said it would take “several days” for the supply chain to return and warned some markets could continue experiencing “service interruptions.” The mass panic caused by gasoline shortages and spiking prices across the East Coast — nearly 7 in 10 gas stations in North Carolina, and about half in Virginia and South Carolina, were out of gas Wednesday evening, according to GasBuddy — highlighted the vulnerability of aging U.S. energy infrastructure unable to handle 21st-century threats, even those known about far in advance.

Founded as a joint venture by nine oil companies 59 years ago, Koch Industries currently owns the largest stake in the company.

An outside audit of the Colonial Pipeline’s cyberattack defenses, delivered to the company more than three years ago, described “atrocious” information management practices and “a patchwork of poorly connected and secured systems,” its author told the AP. “We found glaring deficiencies and big problems,” said Robert F. Smallwood, whose firm prepared an 89-page report after a six-month audit. “I mean, an eighth-grader could have hacked into that system.” Colonial Pipeline operators have been seeking to hire a cybersecurity manager for more than a month, with 32 applicants on LinkedIn.

Restart: PoliticoWashington Post $, CNBCReutersNPRNew York Times $, NBCWall Street Journal $, Axios; Gas prices: AxiosThe Guardian; Koch ownership: CNN; Cybersecurity failure: APNew York Times $, Utility Dive; Job Opening: ReutersAl Jazeera

Originally published by Nexus Media.


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