Hackers Have the Upper Hand
Hackers have used a ransomware attack to shut a major American oil pipeline down for several days, forcing the Biden administration to declare a regional state of emergency to keep some of the oil supply moving until the pipeline can function again. The cyberattack looks to be the largest ever on an American energy system, and yet another example of cybersecurity vulnerabilities that President Joe Biden has promised to address. In the meantime, gas prices have spiked and gas stations are running out of supply due to customer hoarding.
“It’s much easier to understand the impact of a cyberattack if it directly impacts your day-to-day life,” he added.
The FBI has confirmed that the ransomware used is linked to the hacker group called DarkSide, believed to be based in Eastern Europe. DarkSide does not appear to be linked to any nation-states, saying in a statement that “our goal is to make money, [not to create] problems for society” and that it is apolitical.
According to cybersecurity company Check Point, however, DarkSide supplies its ransomware services to its partners. “This means we know very little on the real threat actor behind the attack on Colonial, who can be any one of the partners of DarkSide,” Lotem Finkelstein, Check Point’s head of threat intelligence, told Recode. “What we do know is that to take down extensive operations like the Colonial pipeline reveals a sophisticated and well-designed cyber attack.”
When are we going to wake up about the unmitigated disaster of digital technology? There is no way to prevent hacking of anything -- all you can do is make it harder, sending the criminals off to easier targets elsewhere.
Our society is eating itself alive, from the inside out.
Ransomware attacks generally use malware to lock companies out of their own systems until a ransom is paid. They’ve surged in the past few years and cost billions of dollars in ransoms paid alone — not counting those that aren’t reported, or any associated costs with having systems offline until the ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks have targeted everything from private businesses to the government to hospitals and health care systems. The latter are especially attractive targets, given how urgent it is to get their systems back up as soon as possible.