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Author Topic: Colonial pays huge ransom  (Read 1017 times)

Grandpa Shooter

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Colonial pays huge ransom
« on: May 13, 2021, 05:52:54 PM »

I just read an article about Colonial paying a $5,000,000 ransom to the hacker group that tied up their computer system (which apparently did not cripple the pipeline) after claiming they would never do that.  Aside from that being a dangerous concession to terrorism, doesn't that signal the world that we are so weak that they can shut down our systems at will?  What's next, the railroads, canals, power grids, medical technology.......?

Ben

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2021, 06:03:47 PM »

Colonial is a private company. I'm sure they would rather not have paid, but how much would it have cost them if they didn't pay and the gas shortage expanded both geographically and temporally? People would be calling for their heads, and the anti-oil current administration would do the same thing to Colonial that they are doing to anyone that was in the vicinity of 06JAN.

$5 million is a lot cheaper than losing everything, and all of Colonial upper management going to federal prison without bail for five years waiting for a trial on a trumped up federal charge for not delivering oil to the public. Colonial might have worked with a different administration to not pay, with the administration perhaps using the strategic reserves and/or devoting significant cyber resources to the problem. The current administration has only said this wouldn't happen if we all drove electric cars. So I can't fault Colonial.
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MillCreek

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2021, 06:11:55 PM »

Having read about it in my professional circles, I know for a fact that various US healthcare facilities have paid ransomware to hackers who have shut down their electronic medical records.
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ConstitutionCowboy

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2021, 06:25:09 PM »

Trace the money and blow them off the face of the Earth.

Woody

WLJ

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2021, 06:34:35 PM »

Trace the money and blow them off the face of the Earth.

Woody

Wrong president
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Cliffh

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2021, 06:47:25 PM »

What am I missing here?

Seems that, if you have a good, recent backup you could simply restore the system and be back up & running?

I realize it'd be a bigger deal than if my laptop got shut down, but still....

lee n. field

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2021, 07:11:35 PM »

I just read an article about Colonial paying a $5,000,000 ransom to the hacker group that tied up their computer system (which apparently did not cripple the pipeline) after claiming they would never do that.  Aside from that being a dangerous concession to terrorism, doesn't that signal the world that we are so weak that they can shut down our systems at will?  What's next, the railroads, canals, power grids, medical technology.......?

100 bitcoin, would be my guess

(last  ransomware I helped with, small business, was asking .5 bitcoin.)
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230RN

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 07:32:38 PM »

Trace the money and blow them off the face of the Earth.

Woody

A "turn the other Little Boy" attitude if ever I saw one.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 08:09:00 PM by 230RN »
7.62 NATO? It's kinda like 5.56 NATO, but for men.

lee n. field

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 07:34:56 PM »

What am I missing here?

Seems that, if you have a good, recent backup you could simply restore the system and be back up & running?

I realize it'd be a bigger deal than if my laptop got shut down, but still....

Depends on how big and complicated their systems are, how good their backups (and security) are.  How well things are documented.  Did it get into the SCADA stuff?

Ransomeware stress tests your recovery.  And even if they get a good decryption key, they're looking at a lot of work.

(Last ransomware remediation I did, last week, they had no backup.  Zero, zip, nada.  Fortunately for them the new owner had moved from a locally housed application, to the cloud based version. )
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 09:13:15 PM by lee n. field »
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ConstitutionCowboy

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 08:16:50 PM »

Wrong president

Yup. Elections have consequences.

Woody

ConstitutionCowboy

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2021, 08:24:27 PM »

A "turn the other Little Boy" attitude if ever I saw one.

Umm ... Is that good or bad?  =|

Woody

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2021, 08:29:59 PM »

Little Boy was the code name for the type of bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
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Boomhauer

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2021, 08:33:09 PM »

5 mil was probably chump change compared to the operational losses
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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2021, 08:34:30 PM »

I had read that it never got to the controls, just the business side and the company pulled the plug to protect the pipeline. Not sure if accurate the reporting is as good as it always is.
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Cliffh

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2021, 09:02:04 PM »

Depends on how big and complicated their systems are, how good their backups (and security) are.  How well things are documented.  Did it get into the SCADA stuff?

Ransomewhere stress tests your recovery.  And even if they get a good decryption key, they're looking at a lot of work.

(Last ransomware remediation I did, last week, they had no backup.  Zero, zip, nada.  Fortunately for them the new owner had moved from a locally housed application, to the cloud based version. 

So, if you do get a good decryption key, you can restore your data.  With a lot of work. 

I wonder if Colonial will invest in a (better) backup system?

I've been around computers for a while now, but never heard of SCADA. 

ConstitutionCowboy

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2021, 09:23:46 PM »

Little Boy was the code name for the type of bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

I thought so, but wasn't sure if it fit the context. So, yes. Drop that sucker.

Woody

MechAg94

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2021, 09:40:38 PM »

So, if you do get a good decryption key, you can restore your data.  With a lot of work. 

I wonder if Colonial will invest in a (better) backup system?

I've been around computers for a while now, but never heard of SCADA.
I forget the acronym, but in my company it is the internal system that is used to track all the metering data across our pipeline, production and customer meters.  I can pull up a small program and see all the flows in and out of the pipeline (pressures also) and do trending.  I didn't realize until later that a lot of people call those systems SCADA. 

We have a separate group that does industrial network security at all industrial locations.  Hardware and software firewalls and all that.  Remote access is very limited. 
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MechAg94

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2021, 09:42:19 PM »

I thought so, but wasn't sure if it fit the context. So, yes. Drop that sucker.

Woody
I would be curious just how serious the FBI/CIA get about cyber crime.  Seems to me it ought to be high on their list. 

Maybe someone could plant a story that the same people traffic in guns.
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RoadKingLarry

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2021, 09:58:12 PM »

Why would it have to be a government entity delivering "justice"?
Might not get the money back but sometimes sending a clear message to the next in line to try might not be a bad thing?

I'm sure there must be a discreet "private contractor" somewhere out there willing to get the job done.
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Bogie

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2021, 10:05:49 PM »

The FBI, etc., won't really get involved.
 
Computers are hard.
 
And... They aren't tracing financials where they can confiscate money, with maybe some going missing. They just need the computers to keep working. Where's the payoff in that?
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zxcvbob

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2021, 10:55:15 PM »

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.  SCADA.  That was my first job out of college, programming microcontrollers for the oil and gas industry.
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MechAg94

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2021, 10:57:55 PM »

The FBI, etc., won't really get involved.
 
Computers are hard.
 
And... They aren't tracing financials where they can confiscate money, with maybe some going missing. They just need the computers to keep working. Where's the payoff in that?
At some point, it is affecting commerce.  I guess the effect of this corruption on commerce doesn't even register compared to the effect of Govt corruption on commerce so they are not concerned about the competition. 
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WLJ

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2021, 11:00:41 PM »

I thought so, but wasn't sure if it fit the context. So, yes. Drop that sucker.

Woody

I didn't get it at first myself
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zahc

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2021, 11:07:01 PM »

The optimist in me thinks they paid it so the FBI can trace where the Bitcoin goes. It would explain why they changed their tune suddenly.

In America, you can take down hospitals, and people will just shake their heads and blame the hospitals. Mess with our gas, and we will literally go to war.
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230RN

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Re: Colonial pays huge ransom
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2021, 01:25:00 AM »

I thought so, but wasn't sure if it fit the context. So, yes. Drop that sucker.

Woody

It was a poorly structured joke anyhow, nothing negative to you, but it would not have come up if you hadn't mentioned wiping them off the face of the earth.  They can't all be good ones.  Blame my writers.
7.62 NATO? It's kinda like 5.56 NATO, but for men.
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