Government And Politics, Technology, Business

Government And Politics, Technology

Experts say cyberattack on US pipeline is a wake-up call

Experts say a ransomware attack that has shut down a vital U.S. pipeline should serve as a wake-up call. The cyberattack – the worst to date on critical U.S. infrastructure – targeted a pipeline that delivers about 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast.

5/9/2021 9:30:00 PM

Experts say a ransomware attack that has shut down a vital U.S. pipeline should serve as a wake-up call. The cyberattack – the worst to date on critical U.S. infrastructure – targeted a pipeline that delivers about 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast.

NEW YORK (AP) — The shutdown of a vital U.S. pipeline because of a ransomware attack stretched into a third day Sunday, with the Biden administration saying an “all-hands-on-deck” effort is underway to restore operations and avoid disruptions in gasoline supply...

NEW YORK (AP) — The shutdown of a vital U.S. pipeline because of a ransomware attack stretched into a third day Sunday, with the Biden administration saying an “all-hands-on-deck” effort is underway to restore operations and avoid disruptions in gasoline supply.

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Experts said that gas prices are unlikely to be affected if normal operations resume in the next few days but that the incident — the worst cyberattack to date on critical U.S. infrastructure — should serve as a wake-up call to companies about the vulnerabilities they face.

The pipeline, operated by Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, carries gasoline and other fuel from Texas to the Northeast. It delivers roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to the company.ADVERTISEMENTRansomware attacks are typically carried out by hackers who lock up computer systems by encrypting data and then demand a big ransom to release it. Colonial Pipeline has not said what was demanded or who made the demand.

However, a person close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity identified the ransomware gang responsible as DarkSide. It has been active since August and, typical of the most potent ransomware gangs, is known to avoid targeting organizations in former Soviet bloc nations.

DarkSide is among ransomware gangs that have “professionalized” a criminal industry that has cost Western nations tens of billions of dollars in losses in the past three years.It tries to promote a Robin Hood image, claiming that it does not attack medical, educational or government targets — only large corporations — and that it donates a portion of its take to charity.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that ransomware attacks are “what businesses now have to worry about,” and that she will work “very vigorously” with the Homeland Security Department to address the problem, calling it a top priority for the administration.

“Unfortunately, these sorts of attacks are becoming more frequent,” she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation. ”We have to work in partnership with business to secure networks to defend ourselves against these attacks.”ADVERTISEMENTShe said President Joe Biden was briefed on the attack.

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“Its an all-hands-on-deck effort right now,” Raimondo said. “And we are working closely with the company, state and local officials to make sure that they get back up to normal operations as quickly as possible and there aren’t disruptions in supply.”

The person close to the Colonia Pipeline investigation said that before activating the ransomware, the attackers stole data, presumably to be used for extortion. Sometimes stolen data is more valuable to ransomware criminals than the leverage they gain by crippling a network, because some victims are loath to see sensitive information of theirs dumped online.

Colonial did not say whether it has paid or was negotiating a ransom, and DarkSide neither announced the attack on its dark web site nor responded to an Associated Press reporter’s queries. The lack of acknowledgment usually indicates a victim is either negotiating or has paid.

Security expert said the attack should be a warning for operators of critical infrastructure — including electrical and water utilities and energy and transportation companies — that not investing in updating their security puts them at risk of catastrophe.

Ed Amoroso, CEO of TAG Cyber, said Colonial was lucky its attacker was at least ostensibly motivated only by profit, not geopolitics. State-backed hackers bent on more serious destruction use the same intrusion methods as ransomware gangs.“For companies vulnerable to ransomware, it’s a bad sign because they are probably more vulnerable to more serious attacks,” he said. Russian cyberwarriors, for example, crippled the electrical grid in Ukraine during the winters of 2015 and 2016.

Cyberextortion attempts in the U.S. have become a death-by-a-thousands-cuts phenomenon in the past year, with attacks on hospitals forcing delays in cancer treatment, interrupting schooling and paralyzing police and city governments.Tulsa, Oklahoma, this week became the 32nd state or local government in the U.S. to come under ransomware attack, said Brett Callow, a threat analyst with the cybersecurity firm Emsisoft.

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Average ransoms paid in the U.S. jumped nearly threefold to more than $310,000 last year. The average downtime for victims of ransomware attacks is 21 days, according to the firm Coveware, which helps victims respond.David Kennedy, founder and senior principal security consultant at TrustedSec, said that once a ransomware attack is discovered, companies have little recourse but to completely rebuild their infrastructure, or pay the ransom.

“Ransomware is absolutely out of control and one of the biggest threats we face as a nation,” Kennedy said. “The problem we face is most companies are grossly underprepared to face these threats.”Colonial Pipeline transports gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil from refineries on the Gulf Coast through pipelines running from Texas to New Jersey. Its pipeline system spans more than 5,500 miles, transporting more than 100 million gallons a day.

Debnil Chowdhury at the research firm IHSMarkit said that if the outage stretches to one to three weeks, gas prices could begin to rise.“I wouldn’t be surprised, if this ends up being an outage of that magnitude, if we see 15- to 20-cent rise in gas prices over next week or two,” he said.

The Justice Department has a new task force dedicated to countering ransomware attacks.While the U.S. has not suffered any serious cyberattacks on its critical infrastructure, officials say Russian hackers in particular are known to have infiltrated some crucial sectors, positioning themselves to do damage if armed conflict were to break out.

Iranian hackers have also been aggressive in trying to gain access to utilities, factories and oil and gas facilities. In one case in 2013, they broke into the control system of a U.S. dam.___Bajak reported from Boston. AP Writers Alan Suderman in Richmond, Virginia, and Martin Crutsinger and Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.

Read more: The Associated Press »

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America sleeps through most of its wake up calls and never makes it to work. Instead of locking up smart hackers, employ them to fight back. Don't expect any answers from gubment. Gubment been talking about infrastructure since Barry Hussein in 2009. gabrielguerrac De película de acción y ciencia ficción... Preocupante.

I used to think Solarwinds was so cool because of all the cute sayings on stickers they gave out until the breech. Ironic the wording on this one.. Did their goof lead to the pipeline attack? TrueFactsStated We got boats. 09/05/2021 | MEGA CULTO GLOBAL DE DOMINGO OS PROFETAS DO SENHOR MainSundayService

What’s Biden doing about this, besides hiding in the basement Isn't this the same pipeline that has been leaking since August 2020 and still leaking? Last est was over a million gallons plus. POTUS USTreasury ENERGY Kill The BitCoin NOW! Buy POLYGON

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Great, I suppose we will be paying even more gas now. Stop clicking on unknown links. Whoa man that's one helluva big pipe Show some balls and bury Nord Stream 2! That is incorrect. The worst cyber attack against US infrastructure happened on November 3rd and 4th. Fake News trying to distract from what's currently happen on this front. Wake up.

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