Cyberattacks are nothing new in the business world. In fact, corporations are among the most frequently targeted entities by hacking groups. Despite how problematic cyberattacks are, many organizations continue to fail in taking the necessary steps to eliminate network vulnerabilities. However, the aftermath of the recent, highly public ransomware attack against a major national fuel pipeline has a lot of companies reconsidering their approach to cybersecurity.
Colonial Pipeline Co. is one of the top fuel pipeline operators in the country. They are responsible for nearly half of the east coast’s supply of gasoline, diesel, and other fuels. While their fuel lines can be operated manually, they mainly rely on computer systems to do most of the work.
On May 7, 2021, a ransomware attack was carried out on Colonial Pipeline’s fuel lines. The attack left its operators unable to access the fuel lines’ control systems. As a result, the company was forced to shut down its entire network to prevent further infection. Only one fuel line continued to operate, but under manual control.
In a press release posted shortly after the attack, Colonial Pipeline had this to say:
“Restoring our network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of our systems, and this takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems.”
After an investigation, spearheaded by the government, it was revealed that an Eastern European-based criminal gang, known as DarkSide, was the group behind the attack. It was also discovered that the goal of the attack was not to interfere with the nation’s economy, but simply to hold corporate data for ransom.
The Colonial Pipeline attack is one of the most infamous ransomware attacks in the history of the U.S. Its disruptive potential could have resulted in drastic spikes in gas prices and lack of fuel supply throughout the east coast if not dealt with promptly. “This is as close as you can get to the jugular of infrastructure in the United States … It’s not a major pipeline. It’s the pipeline,” Amy Myers Jaffe, research professor and managing director of the Climate Policy Lab, told Reuters.
Colonial Pipeline is far from the only business to become a victim of a cyberattack. From Equifax to Yahoo! and many more, we have seen similar stories play out and result in costly consequences. So the important lesson to take away here is that businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than we think.
What occurred with Colonial Pipeline was an unfortunate disaster that could happen to any business. It’s also something that potentially could have been prevented. But how do you stop a cyberattack?
Although it’s not possible to keep your business 100% protected from cyberattacks, you can get close. By improving your network security posture, you can prevent most attacks and keep your network secure. One of the best ways to improve your cybersecurity is by working with a managed service provider (MSP) like Net3 IT. An MSP evaluates your system, identifies where your vulnerabilities are, and provides solutions to fix those security gaps.
It also helps to follow cybersecurity best practices like:
- Engaging in cybersecurity training: Cybersecurity training involves talking to your staff about cybersecurity, the cyberthreats your company deals with, how to spot risks, and establishing a code of conduct for internet usage. Through training, employees learn everything they need to know to make smart decisions while online.
- Creating strong passwords: The stronger your passwords are, the harder they are to crack. A strong password is one that uses a variety of characters, symbols, and numbers.
- Use multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of protection that uses multiple verification steps to make sure the user is who they say they are.
Based in Knoxville, TN, Net3 IT is a managed service provider that cares about the security of its clients. Our managed security services provide a comprehensive cybersecurity solution to protect your network from even the worst threats. We are also able to customize our solutions to meet the unique needs of your business.
Contact us today to learn more about how Net3 IT can improve your security posture.
Since 2012, Net3 IT has offered enterprise-level IT experience and industry knowledge to help Knoxville businesses make the right decisions. We are committed to our customers’ success by providing cost-effective, high-value IT services, VOIP phone services, and strategic consulting.