Last week’s ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, the largest United States fuel pipeline, demonstrated the need to restore public trust, to strengthen public/private joint endeavors and to evaluate and strengthen cybersecurity.   Lasting about five days, the shutdown caused severe gas shortages along the Eastern coast.  President Biden lifted regulations in order to allow trucks to deliver fuel and formed contingency plans to release some fuel from the national reserve, if necessary; however, these actions did not prevent panicked drivers from hoarding gasoline.  Capitol Pipeline allegedly paid about five billion dollars to Dark-Side, a Russian-based group of hackers.

This incident demonstrated the vulnerability of our infrastructure.  Engineered by a group of individuals, this attack demonstrates that our networks are also vulnerable to attack by hostile nations. The FBI has expressed concern that paying a ransom does not guarantee the attackers will restore operations and that the ransom might encourage other attacks.

President Biden has signed a multi-faceted executive order to harden federal networks and protect private sector technology. May the gifts of the Spirit given to Mary and the disciples on Pentecost guide those who implement this plan.