The Biden administration on Tuesday released previously classified details about the width of state-sponsored cybersecs on American oil and gas pipelines, as part of a warning to pipeline owners to increase the security of their systems, to prevent future attacks.

From 2011 to 2013, Chinese-backed hackers targeted and in many cases about two dozen companies with such pipelines, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on Tuesday. For the first time, the agencies said they decided the intrusions were intended to gain strategic access to industrial control networks operating pipelines “for future operations rather than possibly stealing strategic intellectual property.” “In other words, the hackers were preparing to take control of the pipelines, stealing only the techno-stei they could operate with.

Of the 23 operators of natural gas pipelines who were subjected to a form of email fraud known as spear phishing, the agencies said 13 were successfully tampered with, while three were “near misses.” The extent of infiltration in seven operators was unknown due to lack of information.

The revelations come as the federal government seeks to galvanize the pipeline industry after the Response Group, which supplies nearly half of the gasoline, jet fuel and diesel that flows along the east coast, was forced to shut down the Russia-based pipeline industry easily. The attack on the Colonial Pipeline – aimed at the company’s business systems, not the operation of the pipeline – caused the company to shut down its shipment without knowing what the attackers would be able to do next. The long gasoline line and scarcity then underscored President Biden’s urging to protect critical infrastructure from U.S. pipelines and cybersecurity.

The sporadic report on China’s activities requires measures to be taken by the Transportation Security Administration to protect against ransomware and other attacks, along with a security order, and to plan contingency and recovery. Specific measures were not disclosed, but officials said they sought to address some of the major shortcomings they found while conducting reviews of the colonial pipeline attack. (This privately held company has said little about the vulnerabilities in its system that have been exploited by hackers.)

Following the directive in May, other companies are following up on the need to report significant cyberattacks to the government. But nothing has been done to seal the systems.

The newly released report was a reminder that nation-backed hackers targeted oil and gas pipelines before cybercriminals devised new ways to hold their operators hostage for ransom. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data until the victim is paid. The attack on the Colonial Pipeline cost about million 4 million in cryptocurrencies, some of which left part of the visible money in cryptocurrencies and lets after the FBI seized it. But, as a law enforcement official put it, “lucky break.” A few weeks after the second ransomware attack, એસ 11 million was raised from meat product maker JBS; None of that was recovered.

Nearly 10 years ago, the Department of Homeland Security said in a report that it was beginning to respond to intrusions on oil pipelines and electric power tors operators at “alarming rates.” Authorities successfully traced a portion of those attacks to China, but in 2012, its motive was unclear: were hackers trolling for industrial secrets? Or were they positioning themselves for some future attack?

“We’re still trying to do this,” a senior U.S. intelligence official told The New York Times in 2013. They could both. “

But the warning on Tuesday insisted the goal was to “endanger U.S. pipeline infrastructure.”

“The purpose of this activity was ultimately to help China develop cybertech capabilities to prevent physical damage to pipelines or to block pipeline operations,” the warning said.

In light of the attack on the Colonial Pipeline, serious concern was raised by new concerns about cyberdefence of infrastructure. The breach triggered alarms at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, which found that the nation could only complete three days of downtime before mass transit and chemical refineries stopped.

The consultant is compatible with Chinese-backed intruders who tracked multiple natural gas pipeline companies and other complex operators from 2011 to 2013, said Mand Nadient, a division of the security firm FireA. It is strongly believed that in one case, Chinese hackers gained access to controls that could enable pipeline shutdowns or set up a potential explosion.

While the directive does not name the victims of the pipeline infiltration, Talvent was one of the companies infiltrated by Chinese hackers in the same period, inspecting more than half of the oil and gas pipelines in North America. He discovered hackers in his computer system in September 2012, followed by months of looting. Fearing it would be used to shut down American infrastructure, the company shut down its remote access to customer systems.

The Chinese government has denied any wrongdoing. Congress failed to pass a cyber security law that would have increased pipelines and other serious infrastructural security. And the country seemed to be moving forward.

Nearly a decade later, the Biden administration says the threat of hacking into America’s oil and gas pipelines has never been greater. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. “The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on our collective ability to protect our country’s critical structure from evolving threats,” Mayorcas said in a statement on Tuesday.

The May directive set a 30-day period for “identifying any gaps and related solutions to eliminate cyber-related risks” and reporting to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of TSA and Homeland Security.

Immediately after assuming office, Shri. Biden promised that improving cybersecurity would be the first priority. This month, he met with top advisers to discuss options for responding to Russian ransomware attacks on American companies, including one from a Florida company that provided software to businesses operating technology for small companies on July 4.

And on Monday, the White House said China’s state security ministry, which monitors intelligence, was behind an unusually aggressive and sophisticated attack on thousands of victims in March relying on micro .ft exchange mail servers.

Separately, the Justice Department on Monday unsubscribed allegations of Chinese nationals for hacking into the trade secrets of companies from the aviation, defense, biopharmaceuticals and other industries.

According to the allegations, Chinese hackers operate from front companies, some are on Henan Island, and tap Chinese universities not only to recruit hackers into government ranks, but also for major business operations such as payroll. U.S. officials and security experts say the decentralized structure is plausible to the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Allegations have also surfaced that Chinese “government-affiliated” hackers were engaged in their own for-profit ventures, attacking ransomware, which cost companies millions of dollars.

Eileen Sullivan Contributed report.