Sen. Johnson warns cyberattacks an ‘existential’ threat after pipeline hack

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Sen. Ron Johnson said the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that caused drastic fuel shortages across the eastern US is an “existential” threat to the country’s energy grid that could get worse if the Green New Deal becomes a reality.

“We are a fossil fuel fuel-based economy and will be a fossil fuel-based economy for decades,” Johnson (R-Wisc.) told John Catsimatidis on his WABC 770 AM radio show in an interview that aired Sunday. 

“We need to recognize that, harden our grid under that reality, and don’t make ourselves more vulnerable with the Green New Deal,” he said.

Johnson said the country should understand that the ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline exposes “how incredibly vulnerable our fuel grid is, our electrical grid is.” 

He said President Biden’s plan to adopt many of the proposals in the Green New Deal, which is backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, could make the country’s power grid even more vulnerable.

“With everybody hooking up their solar panels and hooking into the grid so they can get a few shekels for the electricity they’re selling into the grid, we become more and more vulnerable,” he said, noting that it will create “more points of contact that cyber-attackers can exploit.”

“We really need to change the direction we’re headed in here,” he continued. “No administration has paid sufficient attention to the vulnerabilities of our electrical grid.”
“This could be existential,” Johnson said.

The gas shortages caused by the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline that sparked panic buying eased on Saturday but prices continued to rise.

The pipeline, which supplies about 45 percent of the gasoline and jet fuel to the east coast, was taken offline after a cyberattack by DarkSide, the US intelligence community said.

Reports said the company paid a $5 million ransom.

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