How a Cyberattack Crippled The Colonial Pipeline

Colonial Pipeline Company

How can businesses of all sizes and scopes protect themselves against cyberattacks like ransomware?

At Sentinel Forge Technologies, we usually stick to the world of information technology security, and we try to stay completely away from politics. 

But when geopolitical events create potential problems in the world of IT cybersecurity, we take decisive action. According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, bad cyber actors are licking their chops with the current chaos in eastern Europe. 

Military and civilian cybercriminals all over the globe have picked up their activity. And as a result, cyberthreats are expected to increase in the U.S. in the coming months.  

Some of the prime targets for these bad cyber actors are the U.S. energy and food supply chains.

But what does all of this mean for you and your business? 

In this post, we’ll take a hard look at these critical aspects of the recent Colonial Pipeline critical infrastructure attack, and what you need to take away from it:

  • How Was the Colonial Pipeline Attacked, and What Does It Mean to Business Owners, Executives, and IT Security Professionals Across the Board?
  • Who and What Were Most Seriously Impacted?
  • What Went Wrong and What Can You Do To Protect Your Digital Information and Assets?

Sentinel Forge Technologies is a managed IT security company located in Maryland. We’re a specialized cybersecurity firm laser-focused on protecting our customers’ computer networks, users, and sensitive business information. We serve a diverse base of clients, including specialized agricultural businesses and farmers, businesses of all sizes and scopes, families, and individuals.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!

How Was the Colonial Pipeline Attacked, and What Does It Mean to Business Owners, Executives, and IT Security Professionals Across the Board?

According to the pundits at TechTarget, the cause of the attack appears to have been a single compromised password.

Cyber investigators believe the password was purchased on the dark web by attackers from the ransomware-as-a-service cybercrime group known as DarkSide. The illegally acquired password allowed cyberattackers access to a virtual private network, or VPN, inside Colonial Pipeline.

The VPN provided the hackers’ access to critical information technology infrastructure and systems. Once inside, the attackers were able to execute a ransomware attack at scale.

Who and What Were Most Seriously affected? 

Wikipedia described the overall cause and effect, primarily on East Coast and Southeastern States:

“The Colonial Pipeline carries gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from Texas to as far away as New York. About 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast arrives via the pipeline system. The attack came amid growing concerns over the vulnerability of infrastructure (including critical infrastructure) to cyberattacks…”

The Colonial Pipeline team decided to temporarily shut down the entire pipeline out of an abundance of caution. 

A federal state of emergency was subsequently declared for 17 states. This had a negative impact on the airline industry, caused huge spikes in gasoline and diesel prices at the pump, and had an enormous negative effect on the U.S. intermodal logistics infrastructure at large.

That’s a massive cascading effect from one stolen password.

What Went Wrong and What Can You Do to Protect Your Digital Information and Assets from Similar Attacks?

Some fairly simple policies could have prevented this attack on critical U.S. infrastructure, like multi-factor user authentication. But we’re not here to point fingers, we’re here to help businesses find robust, cost-effective It security solutions.

So what’s the right cybersecurity solution for your business?

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. That is especially true with cybersecurity. 

At Sentinel Forge Technologies, we focus on providing managed, assertive security monitoring and services, for businesses of all sizes and scopes, with our patent-pending Secure Sentinel Network, or SSN. 

At the core of our SSN, the Sentinel Box is a no-touch early warning system for detecting bad cyber actors trespassing on your private digital property. 

We understand the risks you face in a technology world filled with cyber threats, like ransomware.

Our goal is to bring advanced cybersecurity solutions to Maryland’s Agricultural Supply chain and help make our state and our nation’s farmers, businesses, families, and food supply safe from ransomware and cybercriminals.

But what exactly can you do to protect yourself?

We’re currently offering a complimentary cybersecurity assessment with no obligation and no cost. Our goal is to provide you with some valuable education on the problem, and more importantly, on cost-effective, industry-tested solutions. 

Remember, you can’t buy insurance after the accident. So let’s prevent the accident before it happens. Call us at (443) 991-8280 or join today!

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