Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack/Will It Affect You?
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The pipeline supplying 45% of the East Coast’s fuel products, including gasoline, diesel, and home heating oil, spanning 5500 miles (from the Gulf Coast to Linden, New Jersey), was forced to shut down after a cyber attack. Colonial Pipeline Co. was forced to shut down its entire network over the weekend of May 8, 2021. It is not clear how long the pipeline will be off the grid, but if the pipeline will not be brought back online soon, it is likely to crimp Southeast U.S. supplies and raise prices at the pump. States expected to be hardest hit are: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Colonial Pipeline Co. said it was bringing segments of the pipeline back online and hoped to restore operational service by the end of the week. The incident is described from an excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, below:
The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack took place on May 7, 2021, when Colonial Pipeline, an American oil pipeline system that originates in Houston, Texas and carries fuel oil to an area mostly comprising the Southeastern United States, suffered a ransomware cyberattack that forced them to shut down their system. The attack halted all of the pipeline’s operations. President Biden declared a state of emergency on Sunday, May 9. Politico said it was “believed to be the largest successful cyberattack on oil infrastructure in the country’s history”. The FBI and various media sources have identified the criminal hacking group DarkSide as the responsible party. The same group is believed to have stolen 100 gigabytes of data from company servers the day before the malware attack. DarkSide is not believed to be connected to any state government.
In the video published on May 8, 2021, “Major fuel pipeline forced to shut down after cyber attack“, below:
In the video published on May 8, 2021, “Cyberattack shuts down major U.S. fuel pipeline network“, below:
In the video published on May 11, 2021, “What we know about the fallout from the Colonial Pipeline shutdown“, below:
In the video published on May 11, 2021, “Gas Shortages Reported Along East Coast After Pipeline Cyberattack“, below:
In the video published on May 11, 2021, “U.S. Gas Stations Begin to Run Dry After Colonial Pipeline Hack“, below:
In the video published on May 11, 2021, “Cyberattack on fuel pipeline causes gas shortages in multiple states | GMA“, below:
In the video published on May 10, 2021, “Group behind US Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack identified“, below:
FBI has confirmed that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks.
It is believed that about $18 billion ransoms were paid globally in 2020. In Canada, $797 million ransoms were paid in 2020.
This is not the first nor last time that the energy industry or infrastructure has been cyber attacked. Future increased investment in cyber security is needed. Biden Administration needs to allot more money in the national security budget for cyber security.
On Friday, May 7, 2021, Colonial Pipeline Co. said it discovered a cyber attack and took down some systems in order to isolate the threat, temporarily halting fuel flows on the pipeline. Apparently the cyber attack involved some ransomware, a type of code that seizes computer systems and demand payment from the victim in order to have them unlocked. Please refer to the excerpt from wikipedia on ransomware, in italics, below:
Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system so that it is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion. It encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as paysafecard or Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult.
Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the WannaCry worm, traveled automatically between computers without user interaction.
Starting from around 2012, the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally. There were 181.5 million ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018. This record marks a 229% increase over this same time frame in 2017. In June 2014, vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected more than double the number of ransomware samples that quarter than it had in the same quarter of the previous year. CryptoLocker was particularly successful, procuring an estimated US$3 million before it was taken down by authorities, and CryptoWall was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have accrued over US$18 million by June 2015.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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