UPDATED 11:25 AM PT – Sunday, May 16, 2021
Acting director of the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency Brandon Wales warned lawmakers that more ransomware attacks are on the horizon. In an appearance before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, Wales cited the SolarWinds hack last year which he said should have acted as a wake-up call to the danger that was to come.
This after the Colonial Pipeline was shut down earlier this month after a suspected Russian ransomware attack blocked its computer systems sending gas prices soaring across the Southeastern U.S.
“Cyber attacks on our nation’s infrastructure are growing more sophisticated, frequent and aggressive. Wales voiced his concerns stating, “malicious cyber actors today are dedicating time and resources towards researching, stealing and exploiting vulnerabilities…using more complex attacks to avoid detection and developing new techniques to target information and communications in supply chains.”
Republican Senator Rob Portman asked Brandon Wales, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, about the agency’s response to the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack at a Senate hearing https://t.co/EgG8KW0PYi pic.twitter.com/DukHPQ7BFt
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 11, 2021
The FBI said DarkSide, a group relatively new to the ransomware, was behind the attack and asked for a ransom of $5 million. Reports say around $350 million was paid out in ransomware attacks last year with incidents up almost 300 percent.
The Colonial Pipeline is responsible for nearly half of the fuel supply on the East Coast. It fully returned to normal operations on Saturday.