The energy grid is vital for peace and prosperity. James Feldkamp is going to cover threats and offer some solutions for securing the energy grid.
The Colonial Pipeline hack caused fuel shortages throughout the United States, highlighting how vulnerable our energy grid is. Security expert James Feldkamp is going to discuss what happened and how we can secure our energy grid.
“The Colonial Pipeline hack highlights how vulnerable our energy grid is,” James Feldkamp notes. “It was far from the first intrusion, and it won’t be the last. Besides cyber hacks, there are many other risks as well.”
With the Colonial Pipeline hack, hackers used ransomware to hold the pipeline company’s software and files hostage. Colonial Pipeline ultimately paid a ransom, rumored to be $5 million or more, to restore their software. However, restoring the software and systems took time.
Ransomware offers hackers a way to generate money. And with hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies, it’s perhaps easier now than ever before for criminals to accept and receive payment. As a result, we may see more hacks and attacks in the future.
“One thing to understand about hackers, usually they aren’t just trying to sow chaos,” James Feldkamp says. “They usually have an end goal in mind, like earning money. And with Bitcoin and the like, it’s now pretty easy for them to get hard-to-trace payments.”
For many years now, governments have been working to increase transparency in the global financial system. One of the motives for increasing transparency has been to make it more difficult for criminals and terrorists to access and use money. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies present a major challenge.
“Providing oversight and regulation for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin may help,” James Feldkamp states, “but given the way some of these currencies are designed, increasing transparency will be difficult, if not impossible.”
Past efforts to crack down on illicit cyber activity and cryptocurrency use may hint at how governments can shut down illegal activity. In 2013, the FBI successfully shut down the darknet black marketplace “Silk Road” which was used to sell drugs and for other illegal activities.
“With Silk Road, the government found the site’s creator through cyber investigations. Then they arrested the guy, got his laptop, and were able to shut down the site,” James Feldkamp points out. “People are the root of these illegal activities, so if you can find the people, you may be able to shut them down.”
James Feldkamp Discusses DHS Guidelines
For some years now, the American federal government has taken a light-touch approach to secure our energy grid. However, following the Colonial Pipeline attack, things are starting to change. The Department of Homeland Security recently issued guidelines for warding off cyberattacks.
“The government must be proactive when it comes to securing our energy grid,” James Feldkamp argues. “Fortunately, they are stepping up. Now, we need to work with cybersecurity experts both in the government and private sector to mitigate threats and to harden our energy and IT systems.”