Ransomware software locks our computers and holds them hostage until a ransom is paid. Sometimes, even then, the hackers will not unlock the computers. As a result, now more than ever, ransomware clobbers our infrastructure.
We first wrote about ransomware in 2016. Ransomware: Even Worse Than the Name Implies. Most recently, in 2021, we presented Cybercrime Rages On – and On.
Despite the heavy prior effects of ransomware, things keep getting worse. And they seem to have no broad solution in sight.
More Than Ever: Ransomware Clobbers Our Infrastructure
In less than a month’s time, two massive ransomware attacks occurred. The first, involved oil distribution. While the other hacked into the meat distribution system.
The Attack on Colonial Pipeline
As reported by Collin Eaton and Dustin Volz for the Wall Street Journal:
Colonial Pipeline carries roughly 45% of gasoline and diesel fuel consumed on the East Coast. It operates a 5,500-mile system taking fuel from the refineries of the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area. It said it learned on Friday May 7 that it was the victim of the attack. As a result, it “took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations.”
Colonial Pipeline learned it was in trouble at daybreak on May 7, when an employee found a ransom note from hackers on a control-room computer. By that night, the company’s chief executive officer came to a difficult conclusion: He had to pay.
CEO Joseph Blount told the Journal that he authorized the ransom payment of $4.4 million because executives were unsure how badly the cyberattack had breached its systems. And consequently, how long it would take to bring the pipeline back. “I know that’s a highly controversial decision,” Mr. Blount said in his first public remarks since the crippling hack. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this.”
The Attack on JBS
Within just the last couple of days, JBS — a meat supplier — was hit with a ransomware attack of its own. Due to the newness of that attack, the final disposition is not yet known [as of June 2].
Brazil’s JBS SA told the U.S. government that a ransomware attack on the company that disrupted meat production in North America and Australia originated from a criminal organization likely based in Russia, the White House said on Tuesday. JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, said on Tuesday night it had made “significant progress in resolving the cyberattack.” The “vast majority” of the company’s beef, pork, poultry, and prepared foods plants will be operational on Wednesday, according to a statement, easing concerns over rising food prices.
The disruption quickly had an impact on Tuesday, industry analysts said. U.S. meatpackers slaughtered 22% fewer cattle than a week earlier and 18% than a year earlier, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pork processing was also down. Prices for choice and select cuts of U.S. beef shipped to wholesale buyers in large boxes each jumped more than 1%, the USDA said.
To conclude, view the Reuters video synopsis.