A cyber-attack on a shared data network forced four of the nation’s natural gas pipeline operators to temporarily shutdown computer communications with the customers for over a week. No gas service was interrupted, but it was unclear if any customer data was stolen. Aside from consumer and business data, energy companies possess proprietary information about their holdings, trading strategies and much exploration and production technologies. The dependence of pipeline infrastructure on digital systems makes them a target. Control valves, pressure monitors and other equipment connected to wireless networks are vital to daily functions. With almost 2.5 million miles of oil, gas and chemical pipelines all over the country, intrusions into control systems could do more than disrupt deliveries. Risks could include explosions, spills, or fires.
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