About a week ago the internet exploded with pictures and videos of people racing to fill up their tanks and other containers at their local gas stations. Drivers were seen filling up everything from jerry cans to plastic bags in fear of a potential upcoming gasoline outage. Only as recently as a few days ago did gasoline shortages start to ease with many stations beginning to receive supplies again. Despite this many gas stations still remain empty and are not servicing drivers. What caused this crazed frenzy and what does it have to do with cyber security?
The fear of a gas shortage began with a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, one of America’s largest fuel pipelines, which led to a six day closure of approximately 5,500 miles of their pipeline. News spread that the gas delivery system was shut down and led to mass consumer panic. Fearing an upcoming gas shortage, people raced to load up on as much fuel as they could, spiking gas prices and leading to a shortage of fuel.
The Colonial Pipeline was the victim of a ransomware attack, where cybercriminals encrypt their sensitive data and demand a certain amount of money before they will restore it. The hacker group that is assumed to be behind the attack, DarkSide, received a total of $90 million in bitcoin ransom payments before they shut down. DarkSide is a hacker group that is assumed to be based in Eastern Europe and has also been presumed responsible for a recent attack on a Toshiba unit.
Ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common and experts predict that they will only be getting worse. It seems like cyberattacks like this will become more common in the future, and it is important to stay vigilant and protect against them.
Ransomware has been on the rise since that individuals and businesses have transitioned their lives online since the pandemic. In 2020 there were an average of 200 million ransomware attacks worldwide and they are only predicted to continue to increase. Although the attack in the past week was directed as a large corporation, this does not mean that small businesses are safe. In fact, small business owners are much more likely to be the target of a cybercrime and are less likely to recover from the financial damage. If a business or company does not have proper backups in place this could lead to the information being lost indefinitely or that they have to pay the fees to retrieve their information from cybercriminals. It is critical to have a proper response plan in place as well as diversified data backups.
However, if you are hit by a ransomware attack, the best choice is to not pay the ransom and to immediately get help from a trusted cybersecurity service. Cybercriminals thrive on the fear and panic that businesses feel as soon as they fall victim to a ransomware attack but it is important to stay calm and seek help.
Many of the clients we have currently initially came to us after being hit by a ransomware attack. Our team is here to help, we can give valuable insight on next steps when this does happen, and we do our best to keep your sensitive data safe.
Click here to learn more about how we can keep you protected, so that you can go back to doing what you do best.