U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio urged a more robust federal response to ransomware and cyberhacking in light of the cyberattack on a major American pipeline this week.
Rubio made the comments on “Fox and Friends,” in the wake of the foreign DarkSide group subverting security for the Colonial Pipeline, affecting fuel supplies in nearly half the nation, including North Florida.
Rubio particularly urged “mandatory reporting” for “critical industries,” being sure to point out that some industries are more critical than others.
While the pipeline’s “disruption” was obvious, Rubio said “there are plenty of businesses out there who get hit with these ransomware attacks and never report it.”
Not all ransomware cases are created equally, Rubio said.
“Now it’s one thing that’s just some T-shirt shop somewhere or whatever it might be, and I’m not diminishing the importance of their business to those people, but it’s not critical to the country,” he said.
“There’s a difference between (small businesses) and industries that are critical to the country: you shut down a water plant, a pipeline, air traffic control, things of that nature, then you’ve got a big problem. So for those critical industries there has to be reporting requirements when they tell us they have been attacked, and there should be minimum requirements for infrastructure and this country having a place to defend itself,” Rubio said.
He suggested a “singular agency” to handle these issues from criminal, often foreign groups, which he says include contractors for the Russian Federation and North Korea.
“We’ll have to create a new one, but someone who is in charge of the immediate response to it, and constantly updating everybody on the latest and greatest technology available to help prevent against this sort of attack,” Rubio explained.
Even as Rubio and others on the federal level mull the long-term ramifications of the latest extortionist security breach from a foreign malefactor, state officials are messaging on the fuel shortage also.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Monday attempted to quell “panic” among Floridians with a messaging blitz.
“In general, Floridians may expect some fuel pricing and sales issues in the coming days due to several factors,” Fried said in a press release Monday. “These include the temporary shutdown of a major U.S. fuel pipeline due to a cyber attack, causing fuel to be trucked in to certain regions, as well as a shortage of truck drivers currently affecting both the fuel industry and agriculture industry.”
Meanwhile, extortion attempts look likely to continue, including against Florida businesses and governmental entities. A group launched a ransomware attack on the Broward County School District earlier this year.