(Reuters) – The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday called on owners and operators of critical pipelines carrying hazardous liquids and natural gas to implement "urgent protection against cyber intrusion."
It was the second safety directive issued by the Department's Transportation Safety Administration since May, after a notch by Colonial Pipeline disrupted fuel supplies in the southeastern United States for several days.
The department said the measure was in response to "the ongoing cyber security threat to pipeline systems."  "The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on our collective ability to protect our nation's critical infrastructure from impending development," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in the statement.
The Security Directive requires TSA-designated critical pipelines to take certain restrictive measures to protect against ransomware attacks and other known threats to information technology and operational systems, implement a cyber security contingency plan and conduct a review of cybersecurity architecture, said DHS.
A ransomware attack forced the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Texas to New Jersey, to close much of its network. for several days in May, leaving thousands of gas stations across the southeastern United States without fuel.
The closure of the 5,500-mile-long system was the most disruptive cyber attack recorded, preventing millions of barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from flowing. to the east coast from the Gulf Coast.