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Fuel tanks at Colonial Pipeline's Dorsey Junction Station on May 13 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security will issue new cybersecurity regulations on fuel and oil pipelines to prevent future cyber attacks like the one that crippled the Colonial Pipeline, senior DHS officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The new directives on pipelines demonstrate the significance of the Colonial breach, since only a few vital infrastructure sectors — like bulk electric power and nuclear plants — have to follow federal cybersecurity regulations in event of an attack.

Details: The new regulations will be issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is a part of DHS and handles pipeline security.

  • Companies that manage pipelines will have to immediately report to TSA and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency if they are targeted by a cyber attack, according to the Post.
  • The companies will also be required to hire a cyber official and routinely test the security of their computer systems and correct shortfalls.
  • In the past, the federal government only offered voluntary guidelines to pipelines.

What they're saying: “The Biden administration is taking further action to better secure our nation’s critical infrastructure,” DHS spokeswoman Sarah Peck told the Post in a statement.

  • “TSA, in close collaboration with [the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency], is coordinating with companies in the pipeline sector to ensure they are taking all necessary steps to increase their resilience to cyber threats and secure their systems," she added.

The big picture: The ransomware attack against Colonial led to fuel shortages at gas stations in multiple states and could have significantly affected airlines, mass transit and oil refineries if the pipeline had been shutdown for a longer period of time.

  • CEO of Colonial Pipeline Joseph Blount said last week that the company paid a ransom payment of $4.4 million to the cybercrime group responsible for the attack.
  • The federal government has recommended that companies do not pay criminals during ransomware attempts over fears it would only encourage more groups to conduct future attacks.

Go deeper: The new digital extortion

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2021 - World

Scoop: CIA director raised China concerns with Israeli prime minister

The U.S. has raised concerns about Chinese investment in the Port of Haifa project. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty

While visiting Israel last week, CIA director Bill Burns told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett the U.S. was concerned about Chinese investments in Israel, particularly in the tech sector, and involvement in major infrastructure projects, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: That's the highest level at which the Biden administration has raised an issue that previously became a rare point of contention between the Trump and Netanyahu governments.

House passes $768 billion defense spending bill

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House approved a $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2022 fiscal year in a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday.

Why it matters: The annual bill, which authorizes Pentagon spending levels and guides policy for the department, would require women to register for the military draft, among other provisions.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.