Over the weekend, the shutdown of major US petroleum pipeline as a result of a ransomeware attack. What does this mean and who is it affecting?
The Colonial pipeline getting hacked has been all over the news this week. But what does this actually mean, who does it affect and what is being done?
What Is The Colonial Pipeline?
To start, what is the colonial pipeline? It is the largest petroleum pipeline system in America. 5,500 miles love and carries 3 million barrels of fuel each day between New York and Texas.
What Is a Ransomware Attack?
Essentially, this is is a cyber attack that encrypts files on a network that leads to the system to stop working.
Usually, the perpetrators of these attacks demand some sort of ransom in exchange for the release of the data.
How common are ransomware attacks? Unfortunately, they’re pretty common. Many city governments around the country including Baltimore and Atlanta have been hit by ransomware attacks.
However, oftentimes the victims of these attacks recover their data. For example, Lake City and Riviera Beach in Florida together paid over $1 million to regain their systems.
What Is The Colonial Pipeline Hack?
Basically, this pipeline is a victim of a cyber attack which has lead to its shut down.
This pipeline is the main gas route along the East Coast. The forced operations to a halt because of the ransomware found on their computer systems.
The hackers responsible stole about 100 gigabytes of data as part of an extortion scheme.
Who Will This Attack Affect?
It is believed that the biggest impact is on the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
According to petroleum analysts at GasBuddy, Patrick De Haan believes these states will be affected due to their high dependance on the pipeline.
How Will Gas Prices Be Impacted?
Unfortunately, due to the pipeline closure, gas prices may rise. According to AAA is gas continues to climb, it could be the highest prices since November 2014.
What Will Solve The Ransomware Hack?
The company that operates the pipeline stopped operations upon discovering the attack.
In a statement, Colonial said it “proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems.”
On Tuesday, Colonial said it had worked with delivery services to ship about 41 million gallons to delivery points alone the pipeline.
Who Is Behind The Colonial Pipeline Hack?
The FBI has placed blame on a hacking group called Darkside. Additionally, the FBI has said that it had been notified of the attack on May 7th and is currently investigating.
It is said that the Darkside focuses on targets in english-speaking countries and avoids operations in former Soviet associated countries. Consequently, suggesting ties to former Soviet blocs.
Furthermore, this group sells its ransomware as a service and maintains a help desk for negations with victims. The Darkside’s site actually features a hall-of-shame gallery of leaked data from victims who haven’t paid their ransoms.
What was their motivation? The motivated of ransomeware criminals is typically profit. Although Colonial has not said how much this gang is after, some demands have reached as high as 50 million.