Huntsville cybersecurity VP weighs in on Colonial Pipeline cyberattack
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - “Out of gas.” That’s the sign posted on a number of gas stations across the Tennessee Valley as we feel the impact of the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack.
Last Friday, Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was hit with a cyberattack. In response to that attack, the company halted all pipeline operations. On Sunday, the company reported its mainlines were still offline but smaller lateral lines were back up and running. As of Tuesday, company leaders report Colonial delivered about 41 million gallons to delivery points within its system.
Wednesday night, the company put out a statement resuming pipeline operations but said it would take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Jay Town with Gray Analytics, a cybersecurity risk management company, said ransomware attacks are increasing at an alarming rate.
“We certainly have seen an increase in ransomware attacks in 2020, for instance, ransomware attacks increased over 300 percent from 2019, and 2019 was a record year,” Town said.
Town also says demands from hackers have changed.
“In addition to that, the ransoms being demanded have doubled. For instance, in 2020 it was in bitcoin, cryptocurrency $340 million in ransom was paid. That’s twice as much as what was paid between 2013 and 2019,” he said.
Town believes this hack should be a lesson for all businesses.
“People need to invest in their cyber infrastructure and in their businesses and with whom they deal with require it otherwise these breaches are going to continue to occur. As we are seeing here with the colonial pipeline breach this doesn’t just impact that business,” Town said. “This impacts every business that uses gasoline between Texas and New Jersey.”
If you ever fall victim to a ransomware attack, Town said don’t pay it.
“Roughly four percent of victims of ransomware attacks do not actually receive their systems or networks back even after they are given the encryption key so they can unlock their network,” Town said. “Or the info that was seized, the personal info, trade secrets, intellectual property is now on the dark web to see, buy, come across.”
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