Access and Feeds

Security: Ransomware Attacks on US Infrastructure

By Dick Weisinger

5500 miles of the Colonial Pipeline has been shut down due to ransomware. The operation carries refined gasoline and jet fuel along the East Coast up to New York. The pipeline represents 45 percent of the East Coast fuel’s supply.

The incident points to the vulnerability of US aging infrastructure and cyber-insecurity. Recent hacks, like the SolarWinds attack last year are making it clear that much more needs to be done to secure infrastructure.

The ransomware used in the Colonial Pipeline attack is called DarkSide. The group posted online that their goals are to steal money, not necessarily to cause social problems.

“We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for our motives. Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society. From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”

Andrei Barysevich, CEO of U.S. fraud-tracking firm Gemini Advisory, said that “all of the ransomware gangs pretty much know they have a bullseye on them. It’s just a matter of time before the U.S. government is going to start looking for them, but they operate with impunity … right now.”

Coveware, a business that negotiates with ransomware, said that the average ransom payment durin gthe first quarter of 2021 is $220,000, that’s up 43 percent since the fourth quarter of 2020.

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