September 19, 2021

James Costanzo: How secure is your data pipeline?

Written by James Costanzo, Content Strategist at iland

As you may have heard, the latest high-profile case of cybercrime hit the headlines recently — and the results have not been pretty.

On Friday, May 7, Colonial Pipeline Co., which operates the 5,500-mile network of pipes responsible for roughly 45 percent of the gasoline and diesel fuel consumed on the East Coast, was forced to close following a ransomware attack. It took five days for the company to begin restarting operations, and even then, fully restoring the flow of fuel will not be immediate.

The impact has been felt nationwide, with frenzied runs on fuel resulting in long lines and shortages up and down the East Coast, surging gas prices, and volatility across the energy market. It even prompted an emergency response from the Biden administration, which addressed the growing threat of ransomware by name.

While the specifics of the attack, and the true extent of its damage, are still being sorted, we can say this for certain: It succeeded in putting a world-wide spot line on cybercrime, exposing everyone, not just those in IT, to our vulnerability when it comes to threats like ransomware.

 

(Cyber)crime Wave

If it feels like cybercrime is becoming more and more prevalent, that’s because it is. Beyond highly publicized examples, like the attacks on Colonial Pipeline and SolarWinds, a simple Google search reveals just how widespread the problem has become.

In part because of the COVID-19 pandemic and sudden increase in remote work, 2020 was a cybercrime record breaker. According to Forbes, we’ve never seen the sheer numbers of attacks on companies, government, and individuals or had more data lost in breaches than in the last year. The numbers paint a bleak picture.

Malware increased by 358 percent in 2020. Not to be outdone, ransomware kept pace as the fastest growing type of cybercrime. One in five Americans have been the victim of ransomware with one new victim being added to their ranks every 10 seconds. Making matters worse, the average cost of a data breach rose to $3.86 million. Meanwhile, 80 percent of senior IT and IT security leaders believe their organisations lack sufficient protection against cyberattacks. All totalled, cybercrime is expected to cost the world approximately $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

 

Shall we continue?

In the wake of the Colonial Pipeline attack, a top Biden administration cybersecurity official warned against the now-obvious — that cyberattacks were “growing more sophisticated, frequent, and aggressive.” We’ve been saying that very thing at iland for quite some time. The good news is, we also know how to help.

 

Securing Your Data Pipeline

Given the circumstances, it’s a tad ironic that fuel has often been used as an analogy for data — in that both use pipelines. Today, we use a vast network of digital pipelines for our data, but many companies do so without the proper protections in place. The increase in cybercrime frequency, sophistication, and impact means security needs to be top of mind for all your workloads and data.