So it’s not only technology companies that are being targeted by ransomware attacks. Hackers have turned their attention to fuel companies as well. A cyberattack just shut down one of the US’ largest pipeline systems last Friday and the public is growing concerned due to the alarming vulnerability of the country’s infrastructure. The company attacked was Colonial Pipeline, which is mostly responsible for the transportation of fuel between Houston and New York Harbor.
The attack may have been a retaliation of sorts after the Biden Administration launched an effort last month to upgrade the country’s cybersecurity infrastructure, especially in the power sector. They urged industry leaders to install technologies that could help stop attacks on the electric supplies of the country.
Colonial Pipeline has to stop operations as soon as they detected the intrusion. In a statement from the company, they said that “In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems”. They immediately contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies.
Colonial has since hired a third-party cybersecurity firm, FireEye Mandiant to investigate the issue and figure out the nature and scope of the incident. According to Eric Goldstein, the executive assistant director of CISA’s cybersecurity division, The CISA or Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are “engaged with the company and our interagency partners regarding the situation”.
Cyberattacks are becoming more and more frequent and this isn’t the first time US agencies have to attacked or affected indirectly. Some major attacks in the past few years include the SolarWinds incident by Russian hackers and the Chinese-linked hack of the Microsoft Exchange server. Eric Goldstein further said that “This underscores the threat that ransomware poses to organizations regardless of size or sector. We encourage every organization to take action to strengthen their cybersecurity posture to reduce their exposure to these types of threats”.
Colonial is currently entirely focused on bringing operations back online as safely and quickly as possible. They said in a statement that “At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline”.
Cyberattacks on the US have been increasing lately, giving the Biden Administration its first major problem to solve.