The Push to Treat Ransomware Hacking Like Terrorism Is 21st Century Defense Investment Needed in the U.S.

The Push to Treat Ransomware Hacking Like Terrorism Is 21st Century Defense Investment Needed in the U.S.

Colonial Pipeline controls 45 percent of the fuel supply in the eastern United States. In May, a ransomware attack that was the result of a single compromised password breached Colonial Pipeline’s computer networks and shut down the largest fuel pipeline in the United States. Throughout its 57-year history, Colonial had never before had to shut down its entire gasoline pipeline system. Panicked consumers scrambled to fill their tanks, making supply problems worse.

In April, a hacking group with suspected ties to the Chinese government overcame the cyber defenses of the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York. The MTA carriers millions of passengers every day. It is the largest transit network in North America.

JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company, faced its own ransomware attack in early June. Several plants across the U.S. had to be temporarily shut down. Hackers given haven in Russia were tied to the attack.

These may be the latest and largest examples of cyberattacks on critical U.S. supply chains and infrastructure, but there are dozens of others. From the District of Columbia police force to the agency that controls a Florida city’s water supply, cyber intrusions have affected a broad swath of American society in recent months.

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