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This DarkSide Ransomware Breach Halted Operations for the Largest Pipeline Operator in the USA

colonial pipeline ransomware attack

Over the weekend, the Colonial Pipeline Company, the biggest American refined products pipeline system, was hit by the DarkSide ransomware. This ransomware attacked their Microsoft Windows Operating system, forced the operator to shut down operations, and they have still not fully resumed.

Andrew Rubin, chief executive and co-founder, micro-segmentation provider Illumio, said: “This could be the most impactful ransomware attack in history, a cyber disaster turning into a real-world catastrophe.

“It’s an absolute nightmare, and it’s a recurring nightmare. Organisations continue to rely and invest entirely on detection as if they can stop all breaches from happening.


The Impact of this ransomware attack


With disruptions in supply, the US is already starting to see impact on fuel pricing, and the impact may only continue to worsen. In fact, The US even issued emergency legislation due to this ransomware cyber-attack and the impact it’s already starting to have on the economy and fuel prices.

Independent oil market analyst Gaurav Sharma told the BBC that a lot of fuel was now stranded at refineries in Texas.

“Unless they sort it out by Tuesday, they’re in big trouble. The first areas to be hit would be Atlanta and Tennessee, then the domino effect goes up to New York.” He said oil futures traders were now “scrambling” to meet demand, at a time when US inventories are declining. Demand – especially for fuel for cars – is on the rise as consumers return to the roads and the economy recovers.”

You can see the latest updated on this disruption on the Colonial Pipeline Press Release Page.


How did this attack happen?

This is likely a result of many engineers remotely accessing the pipeline network from home. James Chappell, co-founder of Digital Shadows, believes that DarkSide could have purchased account login details for remote desktop software such as TeamViewer and Microsoft Remote Desktop.

He told BBC, “We’re seeing a lot of victims now, this is seriously a big problem. The amount of small businesses that are falling victim to this… It’s becoming a big problem for the economy globally.”


What can you do to protect yourself from ransomware?

Ransomware is no joke, businesses all over the world, large and small, are being constantly hit. What would you do if your company had to either pay up or cease all operations? How long would you survive before there is irreversible long-term impact?

With working from home and accessing operating systems remotely becoming the norm, companies are more at risk than ever, and often their last line of defense are their employees.

We put together these 5 security tips so you can ensure that your employees are following the top security protocols, and know how to identify Phishing emails.

What we see often is that when an issue like this arises in the media, companies and their employees are very careful for a week or so, and then they forget again and it’s business as usual. That’s why we launched our Cyber Security Services.

With an initial onboarding and improvement, ongoing monitoring, and ongoing audit and risk assessments, you can protect yourself, your company, and your employees, and the bad guys won’t stand a chance.

Learn more.

Be safe out there.

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