What is Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Cyberattack all about?
The biggest ransomware cyberattack worth $4.4 million surges in history have affected the US economy, ruining the lives of people by shutting the supply of pipelines. This attack caused a panic situation in half of the East Coast’s fuel supplies. If the situation was not cured timely, it would have resulted in the biggest attack on infrastructure. Even now, large fuel investigators in the US are tirelessly engaging in recovery from this catastrophic cyberattack on the fuel system.
How can a Pipeline be Hacked?
The US has the best infrastructure in the flow system of oils and fuels as all its operational pipelines system is exceptionally digital. Besides being digital, pipeline systems also involve pumps, valves, thermostats, and pressure sensors. All these parts of the pipeline system help in smooth petrol and diesel movement to a wide area network connected through piping. The colonial pipeline has a smart pipeline inspection gauge robot that helps in checking the anomalies in the system. All the operational activities connect through a central system which attracts a high risk of cyberattacks. Due to this centrally connected system, it manifests malicious attacks.
How did the hackers break in?
A Russian-based new prolific ransomware gang named Darkside was responsible for this cyberattack, as confirmed by the FBI. It is a growing concern as it is an attack on national infrastructure. Since the operational technology connects to a central system, it would be highly secure. And a direct attack on this secured network would be next to impossible. So, it seems that hackers might have taken the administrative side of the business to gain access to the internal colonial’s computer system. Another way could be by sending the malware via emails, one of the common modes of cyberattacks. The hackers might have double-crossed an employee by making him/her download some malware. The weakness of the third-party software can be cited as a recent example of hacking anyone’s confidential data. It is even possible that the hackers might be in Colonial’s IT for some time before launching the attack. Hackers might have used any of the above-mentioned techniques to gain access to the colonial pipeline system.
How can this be stopped?
Since all the problems related to cyberattacks start by using online mode. The simplest way to prevent cyberattacks would be to go offline without any internet usage. But going offline will become counterproductive. As the sole purpose of going connected is to increase efficiency. Air gapping is another solution used by various organizations traditionally. Air gapping helps in physically distancing the secure networks from the unsecured ones. Using the air gapping method will put the critical systems on separate networks not linked with IT. But the modern world requires a connected network system. As it is more reliable than an unconnected network system.
How can it be prevented?
The problem of a cyberattack on the colonial pipeline system affects the infrastructure of the country as a whole. It becomes a matter of national security risk. Government should take necessary measures to prevent this type of ransomware cyberattack which can have devastating effects on the lives of people. Not only the Government, but the organizations should also take responsibility on their part in preventing cyberattacks. Organizations should take proper cyber-security measures for smooth functioning and increasing efficiency.