Washington — President Biden is set to address the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack on Thursday as the company restarts pipeline operations after the cyberattack forced its systems offline last week.
First announced by the company on Friday, the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline is the latest cybersecurity crisis confronting the Biden administration, following a sweeping cyber espionage campaign attributed to Russia that impacted nine federal agencies and 100 private companies, as well as a Chinese-linked Microsoft Exchange breach that affected scores of businesses nationwide.
How to watch President Biden’s remarks
- What: President Biden delivers remarks on the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack
- Date: Thursday, May 13, 2021
- Time: 11:50 a.m. ET
- Location: The White House
- Online stream: Live on CBSN in the player above or on your mobile or streaming device
In the face of the growing cyber threat, Mr. Biden took unilateral action Wednesday with an executive order aimed at shoring up the federal government’s cybersecurity defenses. While the order does not address critical infrastructure, it calls for the Commerce Department to craft new standards for software vendors working with the federal government and establishes a “Cybersecurity Safety Review Board,” composed of people from the public and private sectors.
The ransomware attack that hit Colonial Pipeline forced the company to shut down all 5,500 miles of its pipeline, which supplies 45% of the East Coast’s fuel. The FBI on Monday identified the criminal gang known as DarkSide as behind the attack.
While the Biden administration eased regulations to avoid fuel supply disruptions as part of an “all-hands on deck” approach, the cyberattack still led to long gas lines as residents feared fuel shortages. After Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday evening it initiated a restart of pipeline operations, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that “there’s an end in sight.”
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted Thursday morning that the restart of the pipeline “went well,” and predicted a return to normalcy by the end of the weekend, while the company said it has “made substantial progress” in restarting its pipeline system.
Numerous agencies across the federal government, including the Departments of Transportation and Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency, took steps to boost the gas supply in affected states. On Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas approved a temporary waiver to the Jones Act to an individual company to ease oil supply constraints related to the Colonial Pipeline incident.
The White House has continued to urge Americans not to hoard gas amid rising fuel prices and lines at the pumps.