Pipeline Attack Exposes U.S. Cyber Vulnerability
One of America’s most important energy conduits was shut down by a cyberattack. Colonial Pipeline, which supplies the eastern United States with roughly 45 percent of its fuel, reported the attack on May 8. Pipeline authorities stated the following day that it was a ransomware attack. The corporation had to take “certain systems offline to contain the threat.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation blames ransomware group DarkSide for the hack. DarkSide is a relatively new ransomware gang based in Russia. Apparently it doesn’t have state backing from Russian President Vladimir Putin, however.
Colonial Pipeline connects Houston’s oil refineries with the eastern United States. It transports about 45 percent of the region’s fuel and provides the energy needs for many major cities, including New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and New Orleans, Louisiana. It can carry about 3 million barrels of fuel a day. Its cargo includes everything from gasoline to diesel to jet fuel. And its clients include the U.S. military. Politico called Colonial Pipeline the “jugular” of America’s pipeline system.
Ransomware shuts down access to online controls and data. The goal is usually to extort the victims, making them pay to regain access.
It is disputed whether DarkSide is actually responsible for the attack. DarkSide purposely avoids attacking schools, hospitals or government institutions. It sometimes even donates to charity. But it does sell its malware to others. DarkSide released a statement, trying to distance itself from the attack: “We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for other our motives. Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society. From today, we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”
Thankfully, the damage was minimal. The cities affected by the shutdown have enough fuel reserves to sustain themselves before the pipeline becomes operational again. But could this cyberattack be a harbinger of more to come?
Many analysts think so. Bloomberg stated the Colonial Pipeline attack is “just a taste of what’s to come.” The Wall Street Journal said it “exposes [the] cyber threat to [America’s] energy sector.” The Epoch Times reported Sen. Ben Sasse’s claims that cyberattacks “will be run again, and we’re not adequately prepared.”
The U.S. government responded by promising to invest more resources to counter cyberattacks. “The threat is real,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “The threat is upon us. The risk is to all of us.” But will dhs actions be too little, too late? After all, the attack happened during a 2-month push by the dhs to confront cyberattacks.
What makes cyberattacks so dangerous is that it doesn’t take much for a small group to take down a big opponent. This obscure Russian hacker gang—or one of its clients—almost crippled the “jugular” of America’s energy network.
What happens if the next cyberattack is more successful? What happens if Colonial Pipeline’s operations aren’t recoverable? What happens if New York City, Washington, Nashville, Atlanta and other major metropolises go without fuel for a prolonged time? What happens if the crowds start to fight over the last reserves of gasoline and diesel? What happens if the military doesn’t get its fuel? What happens if other pipelines affecting other parts of the country are attacked?
What happens when governments get involved? What are the defense ministries of places like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other places thinking?
The Colonial Pipeline attack shows how vulnerable America’s infrastructure is. What happens if a foreign enemy targets something bigger than America’s energy system?
America has had amazing success in warfare for most of its history. Until the 1950s, America won every major war it was involved in. The Revolutionary War, World War i, World War ii—all of them. And while it has lost several wars since World War ii, it emerged as the victor of the Cold War. Few countries have had more success than America.
But this wasn’t because of American exceptionalism. Biblical and secular history proves that America is the descendant of ancient Israel. (Please read The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong, to learn more.) God promised the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would bless their descendants with amazing success. Part of that promise was kept through blessing America.
But God also promised that, if the people of Israel rebelled against Him, He would remove those blessings quicker than He gave them. Leviticus 26:25 shows that God would “bring a sword upon” Israel. In verse 33, He warns that He would “scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”
That sounds a little far-fetched. After all, America has the world’s most powerful military.
But what if someone could disarm its military prowess completely, perhaps through a cyberattack?
Notice Ezekiel 7:14, referring to the modern descendants of ancient Israel: “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.”
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote the following about this verse in our May 2005 issue: “The trumpet of war is to be blown in Israel—mainly America and Britain. … It seems everybody is expecting our people to go into battle, but the greatest tragedy imaginable occurs! Nobody goes to battle—even though the trumpet is blown! Will it be because of computer terrorism?”
Computer terrorism almost knocked out the eastern seaboard’s energy grid. If America’s enemies could do that, it isn’t that far-fetched for them to do something similar to the Pentagon.
For more information on this subject, please read Mr. Flurry’s article “America’s Achilles’ Heel—and Germany.” Also request The United States and Britain in Prophecy to learn more about what will happen to America in the near future.