Energy wants $ 201 million to bolster cybersecurity in Wake Up of attacks

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm talks about the cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline shut down during a press conference at the White House in Washington, May 11, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The Department of Energy asks Congress for 201 million dollars in his budget request for the tax year 2022 to address digital vulnerability after a steady increase in extensive cyber attacks.

The request for 201 million dollars, up from $ 157 million in 2021, it will be help strengthen the federal agency’s cybersecurity efforts and fill any “gaps” in the supply chain e tech infrastructure.

secretary of Jennifer Granholm Energy he told the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Thursday that the Department also it needs funding to upgrade software, to hire more cybersecurity professionals and to develop new policies and standard computer scientists.

“As we have seen, the colonial pipeline accident made is clear that the fact that we don’t have standard computer scientists on pipelines like we do on the electricity sector, which suggests a big hole, ”Granholm said of a large ransomware attack on the largest pipeline in the nation.

“I’ll say it is clear that there are gaps, not so much in our ability internally to answer but in our ability to see what’s happening in the private industry, “he said, adding that the Biden administration was reviewing methods in that the private industry could work together better with the government on the heels of cyber attacks.

“What’s not acceptable is the status quo,” Granholm said, adding that one option could be “to allow the government to get some visibility in the system Since public he relies on them system. “

Biden administration asks Congress for $ 9.8 billion for federal civilian cyber security in 2022, nearly a 15% increase over 2021. The Pentagon asks for 10.4 billion dollars in 2022 for its IT security budget request.

The increase in investments in cybersecurity follows a steady pace of ransomware attacks they have directly it hit the Americans and hindered logistics and services in the United States.

In April, Washington formally detained the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service responsible for carrying out the SolarWinds cyber attack. Microsoft President Brad Smith described the cyber attack as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen. “Microsoft’s systems were also infected with mischievous software.

The Russian government denies all allegations that it was behind SolarWinds hacking.

Last month, a hack group known as DarkSide with suspected links with Russian criminals launched ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, forcing the US company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of tubing. It led to an outage of almost half of east coast refueling e caused shortage of gasoline in the southeast and airline outages.

Speaking after DarkSide attack, Biden told reporters: “So far there are no prove from our intelligence people that Russia is involved even if they are there prove that the actor’s ransomware is in Russia, they have some responsibility to deal with with this. “Him added who would discuss the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their first face-for-face meeting in Geneva.

Ransomware attacks involve malware that encrypts files on a device or network that results in the system becoming inoperable. criminals behind these guys of cyber attacks in kind demand a ransom in exchange for the release of data.

Earlier this month, the CEO of Colonial Pipeline told a Senate committee that the company paid the $ 5 million ransom to cybercriminals.

“I made the decision that Colonial Pipeline would pay the ransom for all the tools available for us to get the pipeline quickly back up and run, ”Joseph Blount Jr. told members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on June 8. “Was one of the hardest decisions I had to do in my life, “he said.

The day before Blount’s testimony, US law enforcement officials announced that were in able to fetch $ 2.3 million in bitcoin from the hacker group.

The FBI has already warned the victims of ransomware attacks that paying a ransom could encourage further malicious activity.

Less than a month after the cyber attack on Colonial Pipeline, Brazilian JBS, the world’s largest meat packer announced who had fallen victim to ransomware attack. The violation stopped meat production in North America and Australia, sparking concerns over rising meat prices.

The company eventually paid $ 11 million in ransom to another based cybercriminal in Russia group, but not before it’s briefly shut down its entire operation in the United States.

Biden told reporters at the conclusion of his first meeting with Putin since he went up to the White House he raised the issue of cyber attacks with its Russian counterpart.

“Sure critical infrastructure should to be off-limits to attack, period, via cyber or any other means, “Biden said at a press conference in Geneva. “I gave them a list, 16 specific entities defined as critical infrastructure under the USA policy, from the energy sector to water systems “, he added.

Biden identification of critical infrastructure such as off-limits suggests a government the answer could be taken should state or non-state actors attack those sectors.

Putin has repeatedly denied having knowledge or involvement in attacks.

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