Crime and Infrastructure

Here’s a story that maybe isn’t getting the attention it deserves —

North America’s biggest petroleum pipeline is in a race against time to overcome a cyberattack that’s frozen fuel shipments before regional reserves of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel run dry.

Colonial Pipeline said segments of its Texas-to-New Jersey line are being brought back online in steps, and substantially all service should be restored by the weekend. The pledge eased some of the most immediate concerns about fuel shortages in major population centers up and down the U.S. East Coast. The question now is whether regional inventories held in storage tanks are enough to satisfy demand while Colonial works on resuming operations.

Several news stories report that the hack was the responsibility of a ransomware gang called “DarkSide.” And several news stories say that DarkSide was really just after some quick cash. I take it they aren’t being paid. Full service probably won’t be restored until the end of the week, though. In the meantime, gas stations in several states could start running out of gas by mid-week.

And the first moral is, this is what 21st century crime looks like.

In an interview with Reuters, a senior official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s cyber arm, CISA, said that the dramatic hack should serve as a wakeup call well beyond the energy industry.

“All organizations should really sit up and take notice and make urgent investments to make sure that they’re protecting their networks against these threats,” said Eric Goldstein, CISA’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity.

“This time it was a large pipeline company, tomorrow it could be a different company and a different sector. These actors don’t discriminate.”

The second moral is, Mitch McConnell is an ass.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled in a new interview that he is open to an infrastructure spending bill totaling as much as $800 billion.

“The proper price tag for what most of us think of as infrastructure is about six to 800 billion dollars,” McConnell told public television in Kentucky over the weekend.

“What we’ve got here can best be described as a bait and switch,” he added.

Awhile back Mitch was saying $600 billion, so $800 billion is up a tad, although still not in the ball park of the proposed $2 trillion. But when he talks about “what most of us think of as infrastructure” he means infrastructure in mostly a 19th century sense — roads, bridges, tunnels. The one concession to modernity is airports. But cybersecurity is infrastructure. Our power grid with all its ancillary parts is infrastructure. Anything that would cause major disruptions in how people work and live if it broke down is infrastructure. And it all needs help. The $2 trillion is just a down payment.

As I wrote in the last post, Republicans are alarmed that low-income restaurant workers aren’t lining up to go back to their old jobs. They refuse to consider that if workers can’t get gas to put in their cars, or transportation generally, or day care for their kids, or someone to watch Grandma, or running water that isn’t toxic, or a lot of other things not classified as “roads” or “bridges,” that gets in the way of being available for work.

In other infrastructure news, President Biden is meeting with Sen. Joe Manchin this afternoon. Without Manchin Dems may have to compromise with Mitch.

Map showing a portion of the Colonial pipeline, which terminates in New Jersey.

6 thoughts on “Crime and Infrastructure

  1. I live in tulsa. The city got hacled ransomware and is not online since weekend. Same stuff

  2. So, who had "21st Century Cyber Pirates" on their "Coming Signs Of the Armageddon"  bingo-card?!?


    That's what "DarkSide" is, imo.

    They might even be "state-sponsored," like the pirates of yore.  Russia, obviously, would be that sponsor.

    And as for our infratructure needs, Muscovite Mitch needs to stick his head up out of his as… shell, every century or so.

    Mitch, it's "STEM" we want to teach now, not just "The Three R's!"

    And we have 5G and 3D, and not just AM & FM.

    Get with it, or sit-down and STFU, "Pre-boomer!!!"

  3. I'm not in the loop of CIA memos but I read that nothing happens in Russia without Putin's OK. More accurately, anyone who goes rogue with international attacks launched from Russia gets whacked by Putin. 

    The wrapping paper that says it's a "Russian Owned" company not under the control of the state is BS. I don't remember these attacks when Trump was POTUS, A month ago Putin was parading his army in the border of Ukraine. Testing to see who would react and how? Today a pipeline in the US. Russia is not the rich or that populous. They leverage their wealth and people very well. 

    The flip side is that if Europe and the US set and enforce boundaries with economic sanctions, Russia will only have China as a trading partner and China would be in control. We can shut Putin down. The question is, will we?

  4. So we have one pipeline with insecure computers to service fuel needs of a large part of the United States.  Is this not weak infrastructure?  Kind of reminds one of a Texas power grid.  

    Too dependent on private industry and lacking in proper regulation and a plan B.

    Years of neglect do have Texas sized consequences.

  5. It's so cute when a Congressional republican uses the phrase "most of us." 

  6. Every time McConnell opens his mouth about anything the democrats are doing or planning to do, its always dire, overwrought and apocalyptic.  Regarding the Democrats For The People Act, the bill that will make it easier to vote, McConnell wailed, "Let’s call it what it is. Put aside the flowery language. This is a partisan effort to take over how you conduct elections in our country.”  Previously he said he'd be 100% focused on stopping the Biden Agenda.  There was a time when this would be enough to scare them away from even popular legislation.  Not anymore.  Finally, the democrats are seeing McConnell as the paper tiger he is.  He's cried wolf too many times.

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