A major U.S. pipeline network temporarily disabled a system that digitally processes customer transactions following a digital attack.
Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a Fortune 500 oil and natural gas company, disclosed the incident on 2 April in a notice sent to shippers.
According to Dallas News, the announcement reveals that digital attackers targeted the electronic data interchange (EDI) provided by third-party Energy Services Group LLC for the Dallas-based energy giant. As a result, ETP decided to shut down the system used for digitally processing customer transactions until further notice.
Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer, said in an emailed statement that the impact of the incident was minimal. As quoted by Dallas News:
This situation has not impacted our operations. We are handling all scheduling in house during this time.
ETP confirmed it was once again safe to use the EDI system for transmitting documents by a little after 6pm later that same day, reported Bloomberg Technology.
At this time, there are no details regarding the exact nature of the digital attack that affected Energy Transfer’s EDI system or who perpetrated the assault.
The digital attack comes at a time when bad actors are increasingly targeting organizations in the energy sector. In March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made headlines when they publicly blamed Russia for attempting to hack U.S. energy infrastructure using spear-phishing emails and malware.
Recognizing this surge in threats, it’s important that pipeline companies such as Energy Transfer Partners work to empower their supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) cybersecurity. They can do so by signing up to receive alerts and other advisories from ICS-CERT, joining InfraGard and supporting emerging digital security frameworks in the industrial space. They can also consider investing in a solution that’s capable of discovering all assets in the industrial network, monitoring them for potential problems and remediating any issues quickly.
Tripwire can help organizations protect their industrial control systems (ICS). To learn about its solutions, click here.