Radical environmentalists groups, known for resorting to terrorism, have vowed to stop natural gas production in the United States.
"At least three confidential 'amber' alerts – the second most sensitive next to 'red' – were issued by DHS [Department of Homeland Security] beginning March 29, all warning of a 'gas pipeline sector cyber intrusion campaign' against multiple pipeline companies," The Christian Science Monitor reports.
"That fact was reaffirmed late Friday in a public, albeit less detailed, 'incident response' report from the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), an arm of DHS based in Idaho Falls, Idaho. It reiterated warnings in the earlier confidential alerts made directly to pipeline companies and some power companies," the Monitor reports.
"ICS-CERT has recently identified an active series of cyber intrusions targeting natural gas pipeline sector companies," the confidential April 13 alert warns. "Multiple natural gas pipeline organizations have reported either attempts or intrusions related to this campaign. The campaign appears to have started in late December 2011 and is active today."
The group behind the attacks has been sending emails, embedded with malware viruses, to people within the targeted companies. When the email is clicked on or opened the attacker can then gain access to the computer network.
From there, the attackers can gain access to control systems managing pipeline pressure and flow, which would allow them to sabotage the infrastructure, triggering explosions.
"...It's a concern because if they access the corporate network it's often just a short step to the next level and right into their control system network," Jonathan Pollet, founder of Red Tiger Security, tells the Monitor.
Environmentalists have already targeted gas pipelines for sabotage and terrorism. Ecoterrorist Daniel Herriman pleaded guilty in August 2011 to attaching bombs to Oklahoma gas pipeline.