The Colonial Pipeline Hack Is a New Extreme for Ransomware
For years, the cybersecurity industry has warned that state-sponsored hackers could shut down large swathes of US energy infrastructure in a geopolitically motivated act of cyberwar. But now apparently profit-focused cybercriminal hackers have inflicted a disruption that military and intelligence agency hackers have never dared to, shutting down a pipeline that carries nearly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast of the United States.
On Saturday, the Colonial Pipeline company, which operates a pipeline that carries gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas along a 5,500 mile path from Texas to New Jersey, released a statement confirming reports that ransomware hackers had hit its network. In response, Colonial Pipeline says it shut down parts of the pipeline’s operation in an attempt to contain the threat. The incident represents one of the largest disruptions of American critical infrastructure by hackers in history. It also provides yet another demonstration of how severe the global epidemic of ransomware has become.