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Friday, August 6, 2021

What does the Colonial Pipeline hack tell us about the security of U.S. infrastructure?

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William Brangham:

Judy, the FBI said a group known as DarkSide is responsible for the this cyberattack, which used what is known as ransomware.

Ransomware is malicious computer code that block an owner’s access to their computer network until a ransom gets paid. Colonial operates a 5,500-mile long pipeline that carries almost half the jet fuel and gasoline that is delivered along the East Coast.

The company has so far refused to say whether it paid any ransom, but said it hopes to be largely back online by the end of the week. So far, the impact on gas prices has been small. But this attack is just the latest example of ransomware incidents in the U.S.

By one estimate, in just the past year, more than 113 federal, state and municipal agencies, 500-plus health facilities, and more than 1,600 schools, colleges and universities have all been attacked with ransomware.

For more on this and the alarm bells it’s sounding, I’m joined by Megan Stifel. She’s with the Global Cyber Alliance, which is a nonprofit dedicated to reducing cyber-risk.

Very good to have you on the “NewsHour.”

This most recent attack on this pipeline, I think largely because it is such a major piece of infrastructure, seems like a real escalation. Is this among the worst type of ransomware attack we have seen so far?

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