Recent cyber attacks have targeted essential industries, including Colonial Pipelines fuel transportation and JBS meat processing, that resulted in serious shortages. The hackers demanded ransom to repair the damage that they caused. The Biden administration and Klaus Schwab have warned that there will be more attacks causing shortages. The Department of Justice now has a digital extortion task force and federal agencies are tracking cryptocurrencies. Journalist Thomas Muller wrote that the cyber attacks were beyond coincidence and that any company big enough to be a cyber attack target is big enough to design work-arounds. He suggested that the goal of shortages is increased reliance on the government and a government-sponsored digital dollar.
UPDATE: 60 Members of Congress are victims of the latest Ransomware cyber attack.
Summary by JW Williams
Colonial Pipeline, the largest pipeline system in the US that is owned by Koch Industries and other investors, suffered a cyber attack on May 7, 2021 that provoked a shutdown of their operations for five days and led to temporary fuel shortages along the East Coast. The Biden administration refused to advise or assist the company despite widespread disruption. On May 31, a cyber attack on JBS SA in Brazil, the largest meat producer globally and in the US, forced the shutdown of all its US beef processing plants, wiping out output from facilities that supply 23% of American supplies. Both cyber attacks on vital industries used ransomware to extort payouts. The hacker group DarkSide was reported to be behind the Colonial Pipeline attack and received $90 million in Bitcoin over the last 9 months from 47 different wallets. Biden and the FBI blamed entities from Russia, but not the government, for the attacks. Biden’s Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo claimed that cyber attacks like the one that hit the Colonial pipeline last week are “here to stay.”
A video featuring Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum, shows him warning against major cyber attacks on the power supply, transportation, hospitals, and more; he said that the cyber attacks would make the COVID-19 crisis seem like a minor disturbance in comparison.
Journalist Thomas Muller wrote that any company big enough to be a cyber attack target is big enough to design work-arounds. He pointed out that hackers never go after companies like imitation meat producer Beyond Meat, Coca-Cola, solar panel manufacturers or vaccine companies. Instead, he said that attacks target anything that supports self-sufficient, regional or middle class economies. He wrote that shortages and shocks to the system are likely to lead to a money shock that will pave the way for a government-backed, digital dollar. And the people will clamor for it.
Last week, Republican Senator Roy Blunt criticized the anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies often used to pay ransoms just as Democrat Senator Mark Warner called for more transparency. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that US adversaries have the ability to shut down the nation’s power grid. She said there are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector all the time. She supports outlawing ransom payments after cyber attacks because “it only encourages the bad guys.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it seized approximately $2.3 million in Bitcoins paid to individuals in a criminal hacking group known as DarkSide. The ransom recovery was the first seizure by the recently created DOJ digital extortion taskforce. The DOJ plans to base its anti-ransomware efforts on the same protocols as it does for terrorism. It is tracking cryptocurrency tools.
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