The Department of Homeland Security is cracking down even further on cybersecurity at "critical pipelines" in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack, mandating that owners of such pipelines take action to limit the chances of similar attacks in the future.
The Colonial Pipeline ransomware hack resulted in gas shortages in parts of the Eastern United States and has followed a barrage of cyberattacks against American companies and even the government itself in recent years.
DHS put in place a handful of initial requirements for pipeline owners with a security directive following the Colonial hack in May.
"The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on our collective ability to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure from evolving threat," DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. "Through this security directive, DHS can better ensure the pipeline sector takes the steps necessary to safeguard their operations from rising cyber threats, and better protect our national and economic security."
Mayorkas added: "Public-private partnerships are critical to the security of every community across our country and DHS will continue working closely with our private sector partners to support their operations and increase their cybersecurity resilience."
The new security directive, according to a DHS press release, will force "owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines to implement specific mitigation measures to protect against ransomware attacks and other known threats to information technology and operational technology systems, develop and implement a cybersecurity contingency and recovery plan, and conduct a cybersecurity architecture design review."
The Department of Justice in June recovered the money Colonial used to pay off the ransomware hackers of its pipeline that went to the DarkSide criminal enterprise group, which is believed to have connections to Russia.
Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount first said during an interview with The Wall Street Journal that about $4.4 million in cryptocurrency was paid to free the company’s systems.
The U.S. was subject to 65,000 ransomware attacks in 2020, according to NPR.
FOX Business' Brittany De Lea and the Associated Press contributed to this report.