Carnes: Ransomware – the new terrorists
It’s next November, opening day, you’re the first person in line at 5:30 am, your glorious plan since the summer to make the first chair of the season finally come to fruition.
Amidst all the hoopin ‘and hollerin’ from the crowd, you proudly produce your EpicPass bought last spring (at a discount!), Smiling at the cameras of Vail Daily as little doohickey nods.
Suddenly you and everyone in the vicinity hear a horrible beep, similar to going through a metal detector at the Eagle County Regional Airport when you forgot the nail clipper in your right pocket.
Embarrassed you sigh as you pull away so the person behind you can step forward while you timidly try to wipe your pass off your jacket sleeve, but the same happens to their pass and then to the next person. and so on until the banknote scanner calls a superior for help.
Not only is this portable scanner not working, none of them are mountain scale.
It appears that the RF scanners, along with other hardware connected to the Vail Resorts software, have been hijacked for ransom, are no longer accessible to anyone, with Russian thieves demanding $ 5 million in Bitcoin to unleash their digital grip over the entire season. ski.
Don’t think that could happen – think again, because the Happy Valley ransomware could be just as tangible and compelling as it is in the real world.
You already know about the Colonial Pipeline ransom debacle, whose disrupted supply chain of 5,500 miles of pipelines carrying 45% of the fuel consumed by 50 million Americans along the East Coast has caused gasoline shortages and people have had to be reminded “not to fill plastic bags with gasoline “.
Sometimes I cry for our species.
And last week’s JBS meat processors were shut down for days, causing many people to rush to the store for hamburger meat and hot dogs before they’re all gone and vegans across America are rejoicing.
Nation has already suffered ransomware attacks on hospitals, schools, transport companies and many more that go unreported for fear of retaliatory attacks, and millions of dollars have been paid to hackers for companies to regain access to their own data and software.
What if your local bank or brokerage firm was attacked and you no longer had access to your own money?
This could happen to local hotel chains like the Four Seasons, Hyatts, and Ritzes (Ritzi?), Or how about if liquor vendors were hacked like meat vendors and all the restaurants and bars around the valley were drying up, or the city parking lot of Vail structures suddenly stopped allowing the door arms to rise?
Sure, they could pull the guns out and let people park for free, but the odds are about the same as a failed dictator wanting to be reinstated as POTUS in a few weeks.
Anyway, I’m not a software engineer or programmer of any kind (I’m just happy when my debits equal my credits in QuickBooks), but I know the threat from ransomware is real and comparable. to all other types of modern software. daytime terrorism.
I’m also sure there are many of you in the valley who want to tell me how wrong I am to worry, but hey, nobody planned a real insurgency attempt on January 6th either.
Richard Carnes of Avon writes weekly. He can be contacted at [email protected]