While the nation’s two top political parties were fighting each other and squabbling among themselves this past weekend, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm went on TV and made a disquieting announcement. It was really just a reminder to those who follow the news, but an absolute shocker to anyone just tuning an ear to world events.
America’s power grid, Secretary Granholm proclaimed on a television talk show, is vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Of course, many in the nation got a taste of that vulnerability several weeks ago. Hackers had successfully shut down the Colonial Pipeline Company’s ability to pump gasoline to much of the Southeast. Consequently, prices shot up, gas availability went down in many areas and the already darkened mood of motorists worsened.
When the reporter interviewing Secretary Granholm asked her if this country’s enemies have the means to toy with the system at will and shut it down, she acknowledged that they did. In fact, she noted, “It’s happening all the time.”
She went on to reiterate that the increase in the number of ransomware attacks on U.S. companies, not to mention the demand for ransom payment by the culprits, is all the more reason why the private and public sectors should work together to tighten protection.
It is the same call for action Americans have been hearing for decades, and here it is 2021 and the U.S. is still a relatively easy target to domestic and foreign hackers. Nothing’s changed other than the victims and the amount of extortion paid.
Surely the U.S. has the knowhow to stay at least a half step ahead of hackers. Evidently, though, the leadership is content with the status quo. Companies and consumers are still being burned via the internet.
There is no telling just how much mischief or harm these cyber pirates can cause and most likely will in the future without some kind of unified and effective national cyber defense plan in play. They could literally turn the lights off in cities and create deadly havoc in air and ground transportation. The nation’s adversaries have proven time and again all is fair when it comes to showing up the USA.
The men and women who speak for citizens in Washington and in the 50 state capitals need to holster the politics and focus on the real problems facing the states and nation.
America’s problems are growing in number. Worse, left unchecked, they’re growing in size.