(HorizonPost.com) During World War II, each side knew whom they were fighting — Axis versus Allies — and knew where to find their enemy in the broad scope of things. In the 21st Century, a new battlefield has opened, and it is fought with 0s and 1s instead of bullets and bombs. Literally, anybody with the knowledge and a computer can enter the fray, including nation-states, hacking groups, or even individuals.
On May 8-9, 2021, hackers going by the name Darkside initiated a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline company’s network, approximately 100 GB of sensitive data, forcing the company to shut down their operations. This caused a run on gas stations in a frenzy of panic buying in the southeastern United States at first and then, as these things are wont to do, spread to other areas of the country.
Although initial reports said that Colonial Pipeline had no intention of paying a ransom to Darkside, more recent accounts say they paid nearly $5 million soon after the attack. In a twist of irony, Darkside has allegedly been forced to shut down after an unknown entity seized control of their network and completely drained all of their digital accounts. File that one under karma is a b**ch.
In late 2020, the first indications surfaced of a problem with a widely used business software called Orion published by SolarWinds. Hackers allegedly associated with the Russian Intelligent Service (SVR) apparently infiltrated the company’s server and inserted a malware program into a regular software update.
The ins and outs of the attack are quite technical in nature, but in everyday language, the essence of what happened is that the criminals managed to insert a file that was by all appearances completely legitimate. This “Trojan horse” allowed them to access a myriad of files at approximately 100 companies and 12 government agencies — including the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
On May 12, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order which directs government agencies to bolster and upgrade their defenses against such intrusions. However, security expert and former Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA) has expressed a concern that this will not be enough, adding that America needs to go on the offensive so that the people and countries behind these kinds of attacks will understand there are consequences for their actions.
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