Colonial Pipeline Attack Puts Spotlight On Cybersecurity:
Is Your Business Secure?

May 18, 2021

The Colonial Pipeline system, which supplies nearly half the fuel consumed along the Eastern Seaboard, resumed full operations this weekend after a ransomware attack nine days earlier. Following days of higher pump prices, panic buying, and gas stations running out of fuel, the system is beginning to return to normal. But the lasting significance of Colonial Pipeline’s outage—the largest attack on the U.S. energy system in history—needs to be recognized. History will repeat itself with potentially more severe consequences unless lessons from the Colonial Pipeline attack are learned to boost security in the face of rising risks from cyberattacks.

It is important to cut through the rhetoric and recognize the key takeaways from this cyberattack. The most obvious is the Colonial Pipeline hack is a reminder of well-known cybersecurity risks that are growing as attackers become increasingly sophisticated.

Equally critical – particularly with the experience of the past 15 months as the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic – is that securing the remote workforce has become an essential priority for organizations affected by the closing of offices and workplaces. Businesses and institutions must conceptualize the future state of securing the new workforce, which will include consideration of key challenges and unique security threats, technology gaps and preferences, investment priorities, and more.

Following a series of highly publicized cybersecurity incidents in recent months, including the Colonial Pipeline attack, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on May 12, 2021 to improve the nation’s cybersecurity and to protect federal government networks. Recent cybersecurity incidents are a sobering reminder that U.S. public and private sector entities face increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber activity from both nation-state actors and cyber criminals. These incidents share commonalities, including insufficient cybersecurity defenses that leave public and private organizations more vulnerable to attacks.

As your business ecosystem and value chain expand, we work to increase your resilience against cyber threats. Anytime. Anywhere. We create cybersecurity plans tailored to your specific business needs. We help you defend against cyberattacks with proactive, focused, industry-relevant threat intelligence to give you the confidence that comes from knowing your business is secure. We are ready to help you understand your current environment and strategic threats, and to develop effective plans to close the gaps.

Marks Paneth will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates as they become available. Please contact Hassan R. Khan, Principal, Technology Services Group, or your Marks Paneth advisor if you need additional information or assistance.