Global Cyber shutdowns Lead to Anxiety

The hack at the Colonial Pipeline along with other high-profile breaches and shutdowns leads many to worry about what would happen when something like this happens to them.

The Colonial Pipeline hack and disruption hack was an example of how a cyber event could impact everyday life. Through a phishing and social engineering attack, the hacking group Darkside was able to get into the pipeline’s computers. Colonial, seeing this, shut down the 5,500-mile pipeline to prevent further damage. With the pipeline being down, many states faced gas shortages at the pumps because they were the only way to get gas from the refineries in Texas. The pipeline was able to get back online after three to four days, but the fact that a single pipeline created this much stress shows potential vulnerabilities On May 21st, a class action lawsuit was filed in Atlanta against the pipeline and its company, alleging damages against consumers because of this.[1]

Another hack in Tampa targeted a water treatment plant. Over Super Bowl weekend, hackers using remote access servers which are easily hacked, were able to get control of the water treatment process and put potentially toxic chemicals into the water. Thanks to the vigilance of the plant workers, the chemicals were readjusted before any noticeable changes occurred. But if they weren’t there was a good chance many people could have gotten sick, showing how easily hackers could directly impact lives.[2]

With everyone connected to the internet and everyday life dependent upon a cyber event in one area can have a significant impact on everyone. Twelve different websites including the United Kingdom’s government website were knocked out because a third cloud server lost power. Imagine if that was an actual attack, websites across the world might be out of action for hours if not days.[3]

With these hacks impacting vital infrastructure, it’s important that people learn how to identify and prevent cyber-attacks. Dual factor authentication is a good first step, but constant vigilance and training can be the difference in millions of dollars of damage.

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[1] [1] https://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20210521/NEWS06/912342021/Putative-class-action-lawsuit-charges-Colonial-Pipeline-with-negligence-Ramon-Di

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/8/22273170/hackers-water-treatment-facility-florida-hacked-chemical-levels-changed

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/jun/08/massive-internet-outage-hits-websites-including-amazon-govuk-and-guardian-fastly

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