South Korea orders urgent review of energy infrastructure cybersecurity

No prizes for guessing why, as Colonial Pipeline outage stretches patience and looks like lasting a week


South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Energy and Infrastructure has ordered a review of the cybersecurity preparedness of the nation’s energy infrastructure.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Seung-wook convened a meeting yesterday, saying it was needed considering the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline that shuttered one of the USA’s main oil transport facilities.

“In the wake of the disruption, it is necessary to thoroughly examine whether cybersecurity preparations and countermeasures for our energy-related infrastructure are properly in place,” the minister said, before calling on operators of oil pipelines, power grids, gas pipelines, and emergency response systems to check the status of their systems and report back on their findings.

Also on the agenda at the hastily convened meeting was discussion of government countermeasures to attacks such as those that hit the Colonial Pipeline.

South Korea gets seriously cold in winter, with daily average temperatures below freezing from December to February. Disruptions to energy supply could prove catastrophic.

In America, meanwhile, Colonial Pipeline says it was able to conduct manual operations on small sections of its infrastructure, but panic buying has led to fuel shortages, and fuel prices have risen. Several US states have initiated measures to either permit road transport of fuel or prevent price gouging.

Colonial has set Friday as the day on which it hopes to restore full services. South Korea seems to be hoping it never ends up having to enact such measures. ®

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