Washington/Beijing – US agencies claimed that hackers backed by the Chinese ruling regime had launched cyberattacks on US fuels pipelines. US authorities have accused that in the two years from 2011 to 2013, Chinese hackers had to target as many as 23 fuel companies. This is the second time the US has targeted China over a cyberattack. Two days ago, the United States blamed China for the attack on Microsoft Exchange Server.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued an alert on cybersecurity. The alert mentions cyberattacks by China. Between 2011 and 2013, groups of Chinese hackers targeted 23 fuel companies in the United States. US agencies have accused Chinese hackers of carrying out cyberattacks on these companies for two years in a row with the help of the Spearfishing and Intrusion Campaign. It is claimed that day-to-day operations had been hit in 13 companies out of these.
In a statement, the US military said that the cyber-attacks aimed to damage the fuel pipelines and disrupt day-to-day operations. According to US agencies, the hackers had acquired the ability to ‘remotely’ handle fuel pipelines. Democrat Barack Obama was President of the United States from 2011 to 2013. During his tenure, the United States also signed an agreement with China on the issue of cyberattacks. However, cyberattacks from China continued even after this agreement. This is confirmed by a new report from the US authorities.
In May, the Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, was attacked. Russian Darkside group of hackers was found to be behind the attack. The group also reportedly collected more than $4 million in ransom from the company. The cyberattack raised questions about the cybersecurity of US fuels, power projects and other sensitive systems. In this case, the Biden administration took an aggressive stance against Russia and warned of action.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Homeland Security has issued new guidelines for fuel companies in the country. It has asked the concerned companies to take all necessary precautions related to cybersecurity. Instructions have also been given to have an ‘Emergency Plan’ if targeted by cyberattacks. This is the second time that guidelines on cybersecurity have been issued in the last three months. An earlier order had ordered fuel companies to appoint ‘Cybersecurity Coordinators’.
There have been several cyberattacks on US companies over the past year. The United States has blamed Russian hackers for the attack on Solarwinds. The United States has said it will impose sanctions on Russia and retaliate with counterattacks. However, the United States did not take action against the cyberattacks carried out by China. Against this backdrop, the rebuke of China over cyberattacks twice in the last 48 hours is striking.
China has consistently denied allegations of cyberattacks and has accused the United States of being a ‘world champion’ in cyber-attacks.