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Thread: Ransomware attack forces shutdown of largest fuel pipeline in the U.S.

  1. #1

    Exclamation Ransomware attack forces shutdown of largest fuel pipeline in the U.S.

    H/T Drudge:

    Ransomware attack forces shutdown of largest fuel pipeline in the U.S.

    Sat, May 8 2021
    Emma Newburger@emma_newburger

    Key Points

    • Colonial Pipeline fell victim to a cybersecurity attack on Friday that involved ransomware, forcing it to temporarily shut down all pipeline operations.
    • Colonial transports nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supply through a system that spans over 5,500 miles between Texas and New Jersey.
    • The pipeline transports gasoline, diesel, home heating oil and jet fuel. It also supplies the military.
    • Colonial said it has contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies and is working to restore service.
    • President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident Saturday morning, according to the White House.

    Potentially Related

    Support Call Center Legislation

    Are you tired of big banks and corporations cutting costs by using overseas call centers? Not only do they put Americans out of work, but they put all of us at greater risk for identity theft. Overseas call center employees have been caught selling credit card numbers, mortgage information and even medical records.

    The United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act (S.1792 and H.R. 3219) solves this problem by making sure that the people who answer your customer service calls let you know where they are located and give you the option to be transferred to a U.S. based representative. It also stops rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas with federal loans and grants.

    Congress will only pass this common-sense legislation if their constituents care enough to let them know it is important.

    Trump had made this an issue during 2016 election campaign but no sign of him bringing up this issue after winning election, might have been due to political factors.

    Trump: "Our leaders are so stupid"
    Oct 22, 2016

    India's Modi to sleep in Trump's bed in Israel

    US approves more H-1B visas this year
    Oct 14, 2019

    • US has approved a higher number of H-1B applications this year
    • In past years, more than 70% of the aggregate H-1B visa applications for new jobs and visa extensions given to those born in India

    Bye Bye Indian Call Centers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan View Post
    Customers calling 800 numbers are often transferred overseas, and in such cases the bill would mandate that callers be told where their calls were rerouted.

    Companies would also be required to certify to the Federal Trade Commission annually that they were complying with the requirement, and face penalties if they did not certify.

    Schumer's bill would also impose a $0.25 excise tax on any customer service call placed inside the United States which is transferred to an agent in a foreign location. The fee would be assessed on the company that transferred the call.

    Ransomware: Call Centers Cold-Call Victims to Demand Ransom

    Such Specialization Highlights Ransomware Operators' Increasing Business Savvy
    Mathew J. Schwartz • December 7, 2020

    As panicking customers rang in, Piyush and his colleagues would milk them for money, to fix a problem that didn't actually exist.
    Piyush tells me that tricking people is an "art".
    "We used to target the old people," he says.
    "There are many old people in the US who don't have families, are alone and are disabled, so it's very easy to trick them."
    I look at this man sitting opposite me in his baggy jeans and hipster T-shirt and wonder how he could be so cold-hearted. How would he feel if his own grandparents were victims of scamming, I ask?
    "Yeah, I will feel bad," he says. "I did it because I needed money and that's it."
    As the boss, Piyush was constantly thinking of new ways to con customers out of cash. He drew up a script for another fraudulent scheme, known as the IRS scam, which involved cold-calling people in the US and telling them they'd get a tax refund of thousands if they first handed over $184.
    "We used to tell them that the police will go to their house and arrest them if they didn't pay!" he says.
    When he started out, Piyush was paid one rupee for every dollar he made in sales. So for a $100 dollar scam, he'd only get $1.25 (1).
    But once he became the boss the money flooded in. Some "lucky months" he took home $50,000 (40,000).

    Six months into the job, the call centre Sam worked at was raided by the police and was forced to shut down. Sam escaped arrest and within days secured employment in another similar business.

    His bosses were detained for less than a day and he believes they just restarted the business under a different name. It's easy for such companies to operate under the radar, he tells me, which is why they continue to do so.
    Funny videos of Americans fighting back against computer scammers

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  3. #2
    North Carolina declares state of emergency amid fuel supply fears after Colonial Pipeline shutdown

    By Kenneth Garger

    May 10, 2021 | 11:02pm | Updated

    North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency following the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Monday to help ensure the state maintains a sufficient fuel supply amid the ongoing Colonial Pipeline shutdown, a report said.
    The order intends to provide adequate fuel to state drivers by temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations, WLOS reported.

  4. #3
    Now ransomware is inundating public school systems

    May 11, 2021
    Robert R. Ackerman Jr.

    Almost every American adult knows that cyberattacks and breaches are ubiquitous and have primarily targeted companies and government entities. They might even know that the single most common breach these days is ransomware, a malicious process by which hackers dismantle computer systems and don’t fix them until a ransom is paid.
    Few, however, are aware that ransomware is targeting a new set of highly vulnerable victims en masse. In recent months, the majority of successful ransomware attacks have struck K-12 schools nationwide, casting a whole new light on the number of Americans highly susceptible to a cyberattack.
    We’re not talking about the victimization of tens of thousands of corporate employees, as bad as that is. Rather, we’re talking about tens of millions of Americans – young students, along with teachers and administrators – now also at significant risk of coping with the unraveling of their daily lives.
    The pain in school systems is piling up. Over the last 14 months, the majority of K-12 students and teachers were forced to embrace remote online learning, which turned out to be relatively ineffective. Many parents believe their children fundamentally lost a year of learning. Now students are returning to the classroom, yet their education is being diminished yet again.

    According to the FBI, cybercriminals are hitting schools with malevolent tools and tactics they initially found to be effective against businesses. The ZeuS Trojan, for instance, is malware that targets Microsoft Windows machines running on school computers and not only freezes systems but sends stolen personal data back to criminals’ servers, where it’s also held hostage or sold on the dark web.
    The upshot: Last August and September, the latest data available, the FBI reported that 57% of reported ransomware incidents involved K-12 schools – more than twice the number of school ransomware attacks reported in the earlier months of 2020. At least 44 ransomware attacks have already occurred against public school districts in 2021, according to cybersecurity company Recorded Future.
    In the past few weeks alone, 7,500 students in Haverhill, Mass., an exurb of Boston, became victims of ransomware. Shortly before that, Broward County public schools in south Florida – the nation’s sixth-largest school district – were threatened with the release of sensitive student, teacher and employee personal data unless that district paid a whopping $40 million ransom. Over the last 16 months, other successful ransomware attacks targeting K-12 school systems have occurred in Huntsville, Ala.; Baltimore; Fairfax County, Va.; Hartford, Conn.; and Fort Worth, Texas, among other geographic areas. And many schools don’t even bother reporting attacks.

    It’s not just Scripps. Ransomware has become rampant during pandemic

    A household baby monitor was used by health care workers at Scripps Memorial Hospital to communicate outside a negative pressure room last March.

    (Howard Lipin/Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

    By Paul Sisson
    San Diego Union-Tribune

    May 11, 2021

    On a local level, the ransomware attack that engulfed Scripps Health this past week, paralyzing digital resources from hospitals to outpatient clinics, was isolated. Other health care systems in the region have been unaffected and able to assist diverted patients with serious and immediate needs including heart attacks and strokes.

    But, look around and it is obvious that Scripps is not alone.
    A recent report from software firm VMWare Carbon Black estimates that its health care customers experienced a 9,851 percent increase in hacking attempts in 2020 compared to the previous year. And activity intensified with the COVID-19 pandemic, attempts spiking 87 percent from September to October.
    Beau Woods, a senior advisor for the federal government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, confirmed that attacks like the one still unfolding at Scripps simply metastasized in the past year.
    “Ransomware is increasing in sophistication, it’s increasing in prevalence,” Woods said. “The purveyors of ransomware are generally reinvesting the fees that they collect from the entities they extort to acquire more capabilities.
    “They’re getting better, they’re getting more frequent, particularly during the pandemic where we’ve opened up more connectivity to allow more remote work.”
    Scripps’ current predicament, which, according to several sources was unable to offer radiation treatments to its cancer patients until the proper equipment was finally able to be returned to service on Friday, follows an even more widespread attack late last year.
    On Sept. 27, what is believed to be the biggest ransomware attack in health care, hit Universal Health Services Inc., a 400-hospital nationwide health care system with facilities in California, including Temecula Valley Hospital and Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.

    It took three weeks for all UHS facilities to return to full operation, and the publicly-traded company lists $67 million in negative financial impact from the attack in its fourth-quarter earnings report though it has not said whether or not it paid the ransom that hackers demanded.

    That impact included diversion of ambulances to other hospitals when electronic medical records were locked down and inaccessible.


    Ransomware — malicious software that, once having gained access to a digital network can encrypt information and threaten deletion or worse if cash is not paid — is increasingly targeted at the health care industry, concludes a recent analysis from IBM’s Security X-Force consultancy.

    Big Blue’s write up, which is based on its own consulting work with affected companies, found that 28 percent of attacks on health care in 2020 were ransomware, making the industry the seventh most attacked, up from tenth place in 2019.

    And the attacks are getting nastier.

    As noted in a report from the Office of Information Security at the U.S. Health and Human Services, “double extortion” ransomware attacks exploded in 2020. While there was just one ransomware platform offering this dismal two-for-one in 2019, others quickly copied the approach. Now 18 different types of ransomware are double extortion.

    The ominous term refers to an attempt to make it more difficult for hacked companies to refuse to pay ransoms and simply restore their systems from backups made before ransomware took hold.

    Hacker gangs usually operating from overseas locations have countered by downloading sensitive data from the networks they penetrate before making ransom demands.

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