New York Times Feature: Pipeline Hack Points to Growing Cybersecurity Risk for Energy System

Pipeline Hack Points to Growing Cybersecurity Risk for Energy System

By: Brad Plumer

May 13, 2021

The audacious ransomware attack that shut down a major fuel pipeline and sent Americans scrambling for gasoline in the Southeast this week was not the first time hackers have disrupted America’s aging, vulnerable energy infrastructure. And it’s unlikely to be the last. Brad Plumer with The New York Times and Jonathon Monken, Principal, Converge Strategies dive into the threat landscape for America’s vast network of pipelines, electric grids, and power plants that are acutely vulnerable to cyberattacks and the actions we need to take now to secure critical infrastructure to prevent the disruption of energy supplies for our nation.

The Threat: Cyberattackers are increasingly taking aim at the energy systems that underpin modern society.

Let This Sink In: There are not currently mandatory cybersecurity standards for the nation’s nearly 3 million miles of oil

and gas pipelines.

“This should be a wake-up call when you look at what’s most likely to cause disruptions to energy companies

today, I think you have to put cybersecurity risks at the top.”
— Jonathon Monken, Principal, Converge Strategies in The New York Times

“It’s an old saying in cybersecurity: The people working defense have to be right 100 percent of the time, while the attackers only have to be right once — that means we have to think a lot harder about contingencies when those defenses fail”
— Jonathon Monken, Principal, Converge Strategies in the New York Times

About Jonathon Monken

Jonathon has deep public and private sector experience in the areas of national security, emergency preparedness, risk management, and energy resilience planning.

During the past several years he pioneered programs to build enterprise-level resilience for the utility sector through information sharing, public and private sector integration, and large-scale exercise development and execution. Previously, he served as VP for the U.S. Operations for the Electric Infrastructure Security (EIS) Council where he worked with government and industry to develop best practices and capabilities to improve the resilience of life support infrastructure systems to widespread, long-duration power outages, known as “Black Sky” events.

Jonathon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Jonathon serves in the Army Reserves supporting the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

Media Contact

Adair Douglas