The cybersecurity ‘pandemic’ that led to the Colonial Pipeline disaster

The cybersecurity ‘pandemic’ that led to the Colonial Pipeline disaster


WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY – MAY 10: Fuel holding tanks are seen at Colonial Pipeline’s Linden Junction Tank Farm on May 10, 2021 in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Alpharetta, Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, which has the largest fuel pipeline, was forced to shut down its oil and gas pipeline system on Friday after a ransomware attack that has slowed down the transportation of oil in the eastern U.S. | Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The cyberattack that forced the Colonial Pipeline offline is just one failure to address existing weaknesses and an escalating “ransomware pandemic,” experts tell The Verge. That leaves the nation’s energy infrastructure especially vulnerable, even though there are basic steps that could have been taken to prevent the crisis that’s unfolding now.

“Honestly, I think for anyone who’s been tracking ransomware closely, this really shouldn’t be a surprise,” says Philip Reiner, CEO of the nonprofit Institute for Security and Technology. “This is yet another example of what is really a ransomware pandemic that needs to be addressed at the highest level.”

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