If you ever wondered if cyber security really mattered to you, the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack this past week should put those questions to rest. Not only did the cyber attack affect the operation of the gasoline pipeline, unexpected follow-on effects will likely domino in the coming days.
Many people are in a panic and swarming gas stations to fill up their tanks before the stores run out. The panic itself is causing potential shortages. While there has been an increase in the cost of gasoline, the costs of other goods and materials may raise as transportation costs increase.
As reported, the cyber attackers have stated that they did not intend to cause such disruption, they were only after money. However, that shows a disregard for the fact that cyber attacks of any ransom amount cause disruption not only in operations but in confidence. As personal information is stolen or compromised, customers (or constituents in the case of government organizations) lose faith in those who have a fiduciary responsibility to protect their data. Research has shown that within 6 months of a cyber attack, 60% of small businesses go out of business. The money that the cyber attackers bring in from their crime hurts many people, communities and our economy at large.
In the words of Ondrej Krehel, CEO and Founder of LIFARS, “This is a cyber cancer.” Truer words were never spoken.