The pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline has now largely remedied the consequences of a massive ransomware infection, and the next problem is on the horizon: Numerous customers are now suing the company for damages.
In most cases, successful malware attacks are viewed as some kind of natural disaster that breaks out unexpectedly and that unfortunately cannot be counteracted. The fact that most incidents are simply due to negligence in the maintenance of IT systems is often kept secret. Most malware uses exploits for which patches have long been available for the underlying vulnerabilities.
This is also the basis of the lawsuits filed in various courts in several US states since the Colonial Pipeline incident. Here it is argued that the pipeline operator simply did not comply with the security standards customary in the industry and is therefore at least partly to blame for the problems caused by the ransomware.
Consumer Protection Organizations Involved
The Washington Post reports, among other things, of the operators of a gas station who were troubled by the matter for over a month. For a long time, they could not sell any more fuel because there was no replenishment and the loss of profits is correspondingly profound. Many other petrol stations had a similar experience; hundreds of them joined forces in a class-action lawsuit.
Consumer protection organizations have also been active beforehand. They complain that the ransomware incident also increased fuel prices on the entire east coast. Consumers have to pay significantly more for the fuel they need because Colonial Pipeline has not adequately protected their computers. Here, too, one now wants to enforce compensation payments.
The outcome of these proceedings is likely to have far-reaching consequences. Because so far, surprisingly few companies that were no longer able to work due to malware attacks have been sued by customers for damages. If the processes are successful, there will certainly be many more such processes in the future.
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