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U.S. Managing Current Spate of Cyberattacks

The U.S has been the target of several large scale cyberattacks in the last few weeks – a trend that seems to be continuing from last year. Most recently, it was determined that a food processing giant was the target of an organised cybersecurity attack, affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems.

The company took immediate action, suspending all affected systems, notifying authorities and activating the company’s global network of IT professionals and third-party experts to resolve the situation. The company’s backup servers were not affected, and it is actively working with an Incident Response firm to restore its systems as soon as possible.

The company is not aware of any evidence at this time that any customer, supplier or employee data has been compromised or misused as a result of the situation. Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers. However, thousands of employees at processing plants in the United States, Canada and Australia had their shifts cancelled after the cyberattack.

According to an article, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI are investigating the incident and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is assessing the impacts on supply. The company notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organisation.

The attack has sparked concerns about the nation’s supply chain at a time of rising meat prices due to a continued labour shortage around the country that began during the coronavirus pandemic. Industry analysts said that the disruption has already had an impact. The USDA, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies are closely monitoring the meat and poultry supply. The agencies are also working with agricultural processors to ensure products move efficiently and that no price manipulation occurs as a result of the cyberattack.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, a cyberattack also happened to the largest U.S. Gasoline Pipeline. After the attack, the pipeline company proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of their IT systems, which they are actively in the process of restoring.

The pipeline company remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response.  The company’s highest priority is to maintain the operational security of its pipeline. Their personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.

The pipeline company’s operations team is developing a system restart plan. While their mainlines remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. They are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when they believe it is safe to do and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.

This incident highlights the increasing risk ransomware is posing to critical national industrial infrastructure, not just businesses. It also marks the rise of an insidious criminal IT ecosystem worth tens of millions of pounds. It is unlike anything the cyber-security industry has ever seen before.

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