Cyber Attack…two words that business owners never want to hear. With the boom in technology that we have seen over the years, cyber attacks are continuously on the rise, threatening businesses large and small. Last weekend, one of the nation’s largest pipelines faced a ransomware cyber attack, forcing them to cease all operations immediately.
The Colonial Pipeline is one of the largest pipelines in the country, carrying refined gasoline and jet fuel from Texas, up the East Coast to New York. This specific pipeline is 5,500 miles long and provides 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supply. That is almost HALF of the fuel needed on the Southeast and East Coast, making the mandatory shut down of the pipeline crucial to many.
So what type of cyberattack caused this massive shut down you may ask? Ransomware cyber scams have become more and more popular. At first, we were seeing ransomware attacks via telephone calls. Scammers would call your number and claim that a member of your family was in trouble and the only way to ensure their safety is by transferring money to the scammer.
Now, these hackers have upped their game.
In this situation, it has now been confirmed the Russian-linked hacking group, otherwise known as “DarkSide”, is responsible for the ransomware hack. DarkSide hacked the Colonial Pipeline’s corporate computer network, encrypted the data so it could not be accessed, and threatened to publish the data online if they were not given a large amount of money.
Colonial Pipeline said that the reason they shut the pipeline down is a precautionary act in the fear that the hackers obtained valuable information that could potentially enable them to attack susceptible parts of the pipeline.
Throughout the Southeast, folks are currently racing to the nearest gas station to fill up before prices are expected to surge, due to this event. Pictures have been shared around the internet of people filling up their trunks with multiple RotoPax (spare gas tanks), and lines at all gas stations have been miles long. It has been a hectic scene to say the least.
Unfortunately, because of the amount of people filling up their gas tanks, many gas stations in the affected area have already experienced a gasoline shortage. As of Wednesday morning, the head of petroleum gas analysis at Gas Buddy, Patrick DeHaan, shared some shocking statistics regarding fuel availability in the affected states.
According to DeHaan’s statistics, these are the percentages of gasoline outages per state:
With these percentages expected to rise, governors in North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia have officially declared states of emergency. These government officials are proactively taking steps to, “relax fuel transport rules to ease pain at the pump”.
Fortunately, as of Wednesday evening, operations at the Colonial Pipeline have resumed, but it has been noted that it will take days for things to return to normal.
With such a large cyber attack happening in our country, many people are asking themselves, “what precautions can I take to help prevent a cyber attack from happening?” One preventative step you can take is to purchase a cyber insurance policy. Cyber insurance can help cover any business, large or small, from data breaches involving important customer information.
With cyber liability insurance, the insurance carrier will notify your clients about the breach, restore personal identities, recover compromised data, and repair damaged computer systems. In addition, certain cyber policies provide compensation in the event of a business interruption related to a cyber event. How much money would your business lose if you had to shut down for a week?
According to Nationwide Insurance, 55% of businesses in the United States have been affected by a cyber attack, and 53% of businesses have had MULTIPLE cyber attacks. With the rise in these crimes all across the country, these percentages are expected to go up, making cyber insurance a smart thing to consider for businesses everywhere.
Interested in learning more about cyber insurance coverages? Reach out to one of our agents today!