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US Cyber Command chief says ‘cyber security is national security’

Cyber command chief general Paul Nakasone told Congress on Friday (May 14) that “cyber security is national security” in testimony before a House Committee that comes following a nearly week-long outages caused by hackers, on the nation’s largest fuel pipeline that was most disruptive cyberattack on record.

“As we see criminal actors that are operating outside the United States, I think what the administration obviously is moving towards is how do we have a whole of government approach that brings together our levels of power, that includes diplomacy and certainly our economic and if necessary, and if authorized outside the United States, what the Department of Defense might do,” he said.

Colonial Pipeline announced late Thursday it had restarted its entire pipeline system linking refineries on the Gulf Coast to markets along the eastern seaboard.

President Joe Biden also reassured U.S. motorists that fuel supplies should start returning to normal by this weekend, even as more than half the filling stations in several states remained shut following a flurry of hoarding by panicky drivers.

As FBI cybersleuths dug into the attack that paralyzed a large part of the U.S. energy infrastructure, the group believed to be responsible, DarkSide, said it was publishing data from breaches at three other companies, including an Illinois technology firm.

The attacks underscored the vulnerability of vital U.S. infrastructure to cybercriminals.

Colonial has not disclosed how much money the hackers were seeking or whether it paid. Colonial has a type of insurance that typically covers ransom payments, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)

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