Colonial Pipeline was hit by ransomware in May 2021 and it had to pay $4.4 million in bitcoins as ransom. On Jun 7th, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) could recover the majority of the cryptocurrencies given as ransom. How was the major oil pipeline held captive by the cybercriminals? In this article at Vox, Sara Morrison shares how Colonial Pipeline was targeted with ransomware.
Colonial Pipeline and Ransomware
Georgia’s Colonial Pipeline is a main petroleum supplier on the East Coast. When it shut down operations for some days due to the attack, consumers faced scarcity and a spike in price for some days. The shutdown also caused a ripple effect in the nation’s gas price. Tenable VP and former CISA Marty Edwards remarked in Recode, “It’s much easier to understand the impact of a cyberattack if it directly impacts your day-to-day life.”
The FBI had the digital key to the crypto wallet the attackers used to get the ransom money. The federal agency also confirmed that DarkSide is accountable for the hack. However, the ransomware service provider claimed that “our goal is to make money [not to create] problems for society.” Check Point, a cybersecurity firm, said that the real threat actors could be any one of the DarkSide clients. But whoever they were, Check Point remarked that it was “a sophisticated and well-designed cyberattack.”
Ransomware attacks have spiked in recent years and have targeted all sectors, be it government agencies or healthcare institutions. Bloomberg recently revealed that the Colonial Pipeline company did not have a VPN service with multi-factor authentication protocols. The threat actors could access the pipeline’s servers by just stealing frequent users’ login credentials.
The Biden government recently signed an executive order and a $2-trillion investment plan to address one of its top administrative priorities.
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