It is a very hard news: a US company paid $5 million after ransomware attacked its supply chain. By paying that money, it was able to get itself out of the paralysis. That is the world where we have the FBI and the legions of US police. You would have wondered how possible? It turns out that these things happen: “The extortion fee was paid in untraceable cryptocurrency”. Yes, many companies are paying tons of money to criminals and those hired to figure out how to stop them, while trying, remain helpless in some cases.
The operator of the Colonial Pipeline forked out almost $5 million after a ransomware attack forced a shutdown of the artery that supplies a significant portion of U.S. gas stations last week, Bloomberg reports, based on two anonymous sources. The extortion fee was paid in untraceable cryptocurrency almost immediately following the attack, Bloomberg writes, “contradicting reports” the company never intended to pay. The pipeline yesterday resumed operations and it is expected to help restore supplies within several days. The shutdown led to panic-buying among drivers on the East Coast.
Why am I bringing this up? I connect you to a presentation I had in Moscow, Russia. The Mayor of Moscow and the junior Economic Minister had invited me to give a keynote speech (the invitation below). When I finished my presentation, it was time for Q/As. During the session, I realized that some people could not hack easily Nigerian banks because the networks were slow.
Then, I quickly made a joke: when I return back to Lagos, I will tell the bank CEOs to keep their networks slow, to avoid being hacked. That was in 2012, and of course networks have really improved on speed.
But the big question is this: if the US critical infrastructure could be this broken, is Nigeria paying attention to our hospitals, airports, grid, etc? Now is the time to pay attention because even though bitcoin exchanges are not allowed in Nigeria, if bad things happen, these guys will not show pity. Yet, we may be forced to connect one to get back our systems!
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