DHS Homeland

In response to the May 2021 ransomware attack on the information technology (IT) system of the Colonial Pipeline Company (Colonial), on May 27, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security‚Äôs (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a press release announcing a new security directive that will require critical pipeline companies to report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). 

Specifically, the DHS/TSA security directive will require the following action by critical pipeline owners and operators:

  • Report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to CISA;
  • Designate a Cybersecurity Coordinator to be available 24/7; and
  • Review their current cybersecurity practices and identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report results to TSA and CISA within 30 days.

While this is an initial federal government response to the Colonial attack, it is expected that DHS will take additional cybersecurity steps in the weeks ahead.  This will likely involve the proposal of mandatory cybersecurity measures for pipeline owners and operators.  It is unclear at this time if there will be any legislative or other regulatory agency action regarding pipeline cybersecurity.

The DHS press release is available here.

For more information, please contact Kristen Connolly McCullough, Barry Lawson, or Ellen Hill.