All across the southeast, the results of our collective failure to protect critical infrastructure were on display last week. As gas shortages and long lines of vehicles snaked through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and other states, more Americans than ever before were learning the definition of “ransomware.” And, perhaps, what critical infrastructure insecurity truly means.
Many cyber experts started predicting that cyber attack troubles were coming to one or more of our critical infrastructure sectors more than a decade ago, and indeed, sporadic online attacks made occasional headlines in areas such as the electric grid out west or the water supply in a Florida town.
I can easily picture this conversation between a six-year-old girl in the back seat of a car and her father driving her to school last week in North Carolina:
“Daddy, why are the cars all lined-up at the gas station? It wasn’t like this yesterday. What happened?”
“Well honey, it was ransomware.”