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How Toronto Companies Can Learn From Colonial Pipelines Ransomware Attack

Just recently, the United States encountered a major energy crisis that was caused by a cyber attack. A cyber attack had never before been the cause of such a major energy event, and there are a lot of lessons to be learned in the aftermath.

The Colonial Pipeline actually experienced a fuel delivery that was completely shut down between the Gulf Coast and the East Coast for almost an entire week, all because of a cyber attack. This is detrimental to the energy industry. The pipeline between the two coasts is around 5,500 miles and is one of the biggest pipelines in the world that is in charge of moving refined fuel. Almost half of the fuel consumed on the East Coast each day comes through this pipeline, so if it is wiped out, the East Coast will have major problems. What can we learn from this cyber attack?

How much did this ransomware attack cost? The answer is almost $5 million in ransom, which is a lot of money that would ruin a lot of companies. How can you make sure you are not susceptible to the same type of attack? In this particular attack, the cybercriminals were based out of Russia and they penetrated through the Colonial Pipeline systems. Once they encrypted the data, they were able to steal secrets and shut down the companies. Once the ransom was paid, the attackers then allowed them to decrypt the data.

Cyber Attacks are Unfortunately happening Frequently

It only makes sense that as technology improves, so do cyberattacks, unfortunately. The attacks are coordinated by groups spread across the world, and no nation or region is safe from a cyber attack. Not only that, but most ransom demands are hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you are in the energy sector in Canada, you definitely need to be aware of potential ransomware attacks, as you might be able to take measures to prevent them. Even though cyber attacks are becoming frequent, that doesn’t mean the law has caught up with them. Like it or not, the best-case scenario is to take action to prevent an attack before it happens.

Responding to the Colonial Pipeline Attack

In the case of the Colonial Pipeline company, they did shut down the pipeline as a precaution as soon as they knew there was a problem. Even still, the attackers still were successful. They obtained over 100 gigabytes of data, and threatened to give it away online if the company did not pay the ransom. That is the core of a ransomware attack, in which a company asks for a ransom in exchange for data.

The Government cannot Help Much

While the government is able to declare a state of emergency, that is about all they can do. They are not able to get involved with individual ransomware attacks, unfortunately. Therefore, companies must take precautions to protect themselves. This is truly a case of the best defense is an offense that protects you from damage. The best thing you can do is take proactive measures regarding the security of your company.

Being Proactive is the Best Solution

If you are in the oil and gas industry, you are no doubt aware of the threat of a cyberattack. The good news is that there are computer and cybersecurity firms like ours that have created some proactive malware prevention systems. These systems are in place so that you can plan and prevent any losses that might come your way should be the focus of a ransomware attack.

The biggest reason for ransomware attacks in the gas and oil industry is there is such a high degree of automation of OT and IT technologies, meaning they are easy to target and high in demand. Some providers might offer IT protection, but you really need specialized IT protection in order to prevent best against these specialized attacks.

One little breakdown in a system could let in a cyberattack, so you need to have as strong of a system as possible. Without the right protection in place, you run the risk of a breakdown in your system and an attack that could be catastrophic to your network. The Colonial Pipeline hacking should be a wake-up call to everyone in the industry and a sign that we can all do better to protect ourselves against ransomware attacks. .

Are there other Dangers?

There is more than just ransomware attacks to be aware of when you protect your IT servers. Take a look at other common attacks that you might face… You could experience something like theft of company data that is detrimental to your company and/or your employees, or you might see an infrastructure infiltrated that could take down your entire company. Even a basic hack like DNS hacking could take down your entire IT structure.

You might be tempted to handle these types of things in-house, but in reality, that just exposes you more. An outside company can protect you better because they are going to know more about the dangers you are up against.


The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack actually did force a major shut down of the pipeline for almost an entire week. This shutdown was a large crisis. Unfortunately, it is not isolated, and many companies within the oil and gas industry are becoming targets for cyber attacks and you need to be aware of that so you can take steps to protect your company.

There isn’t much governments can do, but there are some third-party companies that can help protect you. It’s best for you to contact an expert in cyberattacks and ransomware attacks so you can fend off an attack before it happens. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…

Reach out and contact us today to learn about why you should hire Tektonic as your IT services company for your Toronto law firm! We can help make sure you apply all the right lessons learned from the Colonial Pipelines ransomware attack.

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