Cyber Attack Hits Pipeline Computer System, Rover Pipe Affected

We’ve read warnings about the potential for cyber (computer) attacks on the U.S. energy industry for several months. We understand how such an attack might affect a nuclear plant, or perhaps the electric grid. Screw up the computers managing and running a nuke plant or a significant portion of the electric grid and you have a class-one serious situation on your hands. However, we didn’t really think about pipelines. Did you know that pipeline networks, like electric grids, are monitored and controlled by computers and those computers can be compromised? We have to admit it was not on our radar screen. But that has now happened–and it affects not only pipeline systems in other parts of the country, but right here in the Marcellus/Utica. Energy Transfer Partners uses a third party service called Energy Services Group to manage all of its pipelines–a massive nationwide network. Energy Services provides EDI (electronic data interchange) services that reportedly cut costs and increases the speed with which companies exchange documents that used to be paper-based. Documents like those used in buying and selling natural gas at various trading hubs along major pipelines. On Monday, Energy Services was attacked electronically, knocking the service out of commission until further notice. Note that gas flowing through pipelines has not been affected. The affected computers don’t turn valves on and off. However, the ability to know who’s gas is flowing through the pipeline (who bought and who sold) has been slowed–on all of ET’s pipelines, including the newly-minted Rover Pipeline…

Please Login to view this content. (Not a member? Join Today!)
You do not have permission to view the comments.

Please Login to post a comment