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Events hosted by RSI AND Virtual

Don’t Just Blame the Air Gap—Policy in the Wake of the Colonial Pipeline

On May 7, the ransomware gang DarkSide locked up the information technology (IT) systems of Colonial Pipeline, the energy distributor responsible for shipping nearly half of the East Coast’s gas and jet fuel.

Unable to confirm whether the industrial pipeline was compromised—and reportedly unwilling to dispense gas that could not be accurately billed—Colonial took it fully offline. Over a week later, systems are still not fully operational—causing a number of secondary impacts and forcing Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to plead with consumers to stop panic-buying gasoline.

Critics have been quick to blame Colonial for taking insufficient security precautions, but the challenge of protecting critical infrastructure defies easy solutions. Join R Street for a no-holds barred conversation on lessons learned from the incident; the ethics of making ransomware payments; recent trends in industrial cybersecurity; the state of private/public partnerships; how the Biden administration should respond; and potential technical and policy solutions.


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