Colonial Pipeline – Not Just A Ransom Hack

The disruption of fuel supplies (east coast of the U.S.), although not fatal, is nonetheless a wound and one with a distinctive pathology. No incoming squadron of dive-bombers, cruise or hypersonic missiles, armed flotilla or laser beams fired from a space-based system but a nondescript, barely identifiable and devoutly parasitic force bent on disruption. A not so thinly veiled form of asymmetrical warfare with the added flair of ransomware, the neo-geek-tech rendition of the crazed loan gunmen; the perfect expletive for providing cover for a cause preferring to hide in plain sight.

“our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society.”

A foggy and shadowy group by the name of DarkSide quickly stood fore to claim responsibility stating “our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society.” By god that’s quite a peevishly noble manifesto, even utilitarian.  I’m certain Planned Parenthood could make good use of it. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist barking my upset over the unrestrained killing of the most precious and defenseless of us all, the unborn and my oh my are we paying for it.)

Now then, unbelievable as it might seem rest assured it won’t require much to affirm the most reasoned of suspicions. Let’s consider the two most obvious clues: (1) The narrowing of their traffic identifies that they operate out of “Eastern Europe” and (2) their malware is designed to steer clear of websites operating in/about members of the “Commonwealth of Independent States” (former Soviet States) and scripted in the Russian language. Any questions?

“Ransomware/ransomware, how delightfully glib,….wonderfully capturing the zeitgeist of the current era.”

While Colonial works to restore the flow of product and upgrade their systems infrastructure many have argued that to have delivered on DarkSide’s ransom request is to encourage further forms of extortion however in this case, I’ll take the opposition stance. Technologies exist to allow the tracking of financial transactions and eventually that money will land somewhere and be used by someone, the fact that the payment was made using BitCoin and admittedly adding a layer to the investigative process eventually these funds will surface as they flow in and out of a BitCoin wallet. In short, if you don’t want to be tracked then don’t leave a trail.

Either way, don’t look for Russia to step up and out and delivery an apology but one should expect that the U.S. will have its global financial uber structure express a planned threat-or-else aimed at Russia and its financial interests and watch how quickly DarkSide quietly slips off, well, into the dark side of oblivion, for now. while various it must be true. Ransomware/ransomware, how delightfully glib, right up there with climate change, carbon credits, globalism, living wage, sustainable energy and globalism all wonderfully capturing the zeitgeist of the current era.

We are trapped in a battle of our own making. On one side there is the overindulgence of ignorance, the other a system we feed with apathy that supplies the fodder far too many willing feeds upon.

Curtis C. Greco, Founder

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