What Happens When Ransomware Affects a Major Gas Pipeline?

A ransomware attack shut down a major gas pipeline in the U.S. Colonial Pipeline, which carries almost half of the gasoline, diesel and other fuels used on the East Coast, released a statement about the attack on Friday.  Colonial has shut down all its pipeline operations and is working with law enforcement and federal agencies.

The Washington Post has reported that it is in fact a ransomware attack.  They have yet to confirm if it is the work of a nation-state threat actor. Robert M. Lee, the chief executive of Dragos, told the Washington Post that ransomware is becoming more common against the industrial sector because firms are willing to pay to regain access to their systems: “The downtime for industrial companies can cost millions.”

In addition to the costs to the business, having a major distributor like Colonial down for days could lead to fuel shortages.  The possibility of shortages and price increases are being downplayed in this case, as most of the fuel goes into storage tanks, and the US has seen a reduction in energy use due to the pandemic. As of Saturday, there was no indication of how much longer the pipeline would continue to be down. If Colonial has a solid incident response plan, then they can hopefully be up and running soon without any major losses or fuel shortages.

Whether you need help protecting your systems from ransomware, or need help investigating a ransomware attack on your systems, you can trust Uzado to help. Uzado’s team of experts can help with your cyber awareness training, regular application of security updates and patches to systems, comprehensive backup policies and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) to thwart ransomware. Uzado’s Breach Readiness as a Service (BRaaS) is something you should also consider if you want to cost-effectively improve you IT resilience, recovery from ransomware attacks, meet compliance or regulatory requirements, and address any cyber security deficiencies.

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