Colonial Pipeline Wasn’t The First And Won’t Be The Last Cyber Pirate Attack

Colonial Pipeline Wasn’t The First And Won’t Be The Last Cyber Pirate Attack

- in Politics

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(CNN)The fact that an apparent group of cyber pirates — a secret criminal nerd syndicate — can take down the aorta of fuel for the East Coast should be sending shockwaves through the country.

We’ve all read this year about the pandemic threatening supply chains and about climate change causing more freak weather that threatens power grids. Meanwhile, hackers have also gotten more brazen, locking companies key to the US infrastructure.

This week it’s Colonial Pipeline. But it’s been hospital systems. Cities. Schools. Everything from the city of Atlanta to the DC Police Department has been hit by ransomware.

    And while they can’t be tied in all or even most cases to foreign governments, that should not distract us from the fact that the US appears to be under attack.

      For more straight reporting on Colonial Pipeline, read this CNN report from Zachary Cohen, Geneva Sands and Matt Egan explaining the broad strokes and business implications. This one from Kevin Liptak focuses on what the US government, and specifically President Joe Biden, is going to do about it.

        Here are my takeaways:

        The Colonial Pipeline is a vital piece of US infrastructure.

          Spanning more than 5,500 miles, it transports about 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. It transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil. No disruptions have yet been felt from the shutdown of the pipeline, but this is not something that should be able to be shut down.

          This sounds like an underground criminal syndicate.

          The ransomware group claiming credit for the Colonial Pipeline attack is called DarkSide, originates from Russia and is thought to rent out its software to other hackers. The US has not specifically tied DarkSide to the Russian government, but rather thinks the group is operating for profit.

          This is apparently going to get worse.

          “All of our industries are going through some form of digital transformation, which means they’re becoming more connected and taking advantage of things like cloud resources. That connectivity allows adversaries to come into those systems and compromise them in these ways,” Rob Lee, the CEO of Dragos, a cybersecurity firm, told CNN ‘s Jim Sciutto on Monday.

          There are big targets and small targets.

          A good portion of the country could feel the pinch of higher gas prices and potential jet fuel shortages as Colonial Pipeline races to bring itself fully back online. That is a very big attack.

          Fewer people were directly hurt when the DC Police Department was targeted and hackers threatened to release information on confidential informants.

          The range of targets is extensive.

          “Everybody is vulnerable,” said Lee. “We are going to exp

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