East Coast USA suffers from a cyber security breach of Colonial Pipeline

The ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group Darkside shut down a vital artery used to provide gas and jet fuel to nearly 45% of the United States Eastern Coast. The security breach prompted the company to shut down operations for five days which lead to gas shortages and panicked buying that left many gas stations without fuel. Gas prices rose as much as 20% a gallon in just a few days. Even after the company paid an enormous 4.4 million dollar ransom to the hacker group, the fuel shortage was still affecting motorists and businesses alike for weeks.

Ransomware is just one of a variety of cyberattacks utilized by modern era criminals along with other threats like malware, phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and more. The digital revolution made many aspects of our lives faster and more convenient, but that came with the cost of new risks and vulnerabilities. Hacking the Colonial pipeline made it abundantly clear that utility companies are all at extreme risk. It’s hard to calculate the damages this cyberattack caused to Colonial Pipeline and the adjacent economies, but it undoubtedly extends far beyond the millions in bitcoin the company paid upfront.

If the threat of cyberattacks wasn’t enough, climate change is putting additional stress on electric grids and utility providers. Recently a heatwave in California and a deep freeze in Texas caused massive, state-wide power outages. These catastrophic events affected millions of people and countless businesses while states of emergencies were declared.

Homeland Security collaboration center with video wall system

With criminal attacks and natural disasters on the rise, energy companies are now under greater pressure from governments and investors to re-think their defense infrastructure and correct exposed vulnerabilities. Whether these companies are prepared or not, these attacks and events will continue to strike in the coming months and years. In this modern world, companies need to be ready to address and mitigate the effect of these threats.

What can Utility companies do to maintain operational effectiveness amidst these dangers? There are a number of new technologies that can provide real-time monitoring and operational oversight in this 24/7/365 mission-critical operational environment. Data visualization and full team collaboration has become imperative to the success of Process Control centers, Network Operations Centers (NOCs), and Security Operations Centers (SOCs). Video wall collaboration and visualization technology by Cyviz provides a shared, common operating picture that allows for fast decision making and enhanced response capabilities. Operators are no longer confined to the silos of their individual workstations while decision makers can see the big picture in real-time to make critical decisions on the fly. Unlike computer monitors that are measured in inches, video wall systems can span dozens of feet wide and tall to provide the high resolution digital real estate needed for big data visualization.

In our 20+ years of pioneering video wall collaboration solutions, Cyviz has perfected the software and hardware pieces that powers these systems. What started as advanced seismic measurement applications with high-resolution displays and advanced control room monitoring for drilling became the building blocks for these modern SOCs and NOCs. Decades of experience have allowed Cyviz to understand their customer’s needs in these vital markets. With full knowledge of industry requirements, Cyviz offers solutions that are reliable 24/7/365 and easy to use and maintain. Rock-solid stability is crucial element of a successful operation center. Cyviz proprietary hardware is standardized over thousands of hours of QA testing. Superior quality is not the only difference between Cyviz and our competitors – the user experience needs to be flawless; especially so when the stakes are this high. A visually pleasing user interface has to have clean code, robust features, and require minimal training. Additionally, an intuitive user experience is paramount – it simply needs to be easy enough to use so any operator can approach the system regardless of their technical experience. That ease of use factor is so important to Cyviz’s mission, that it’s even seen in the names of our software components. The Easy Platform consists of The Easy Controller, the interface that controls the content on the video wall, the video processor that powers the LCD or LED video wall, and the Easy Server that can monitor multiple rooms, providing your IT team with remote access for updates, real time monitoring, and usage insight. Bringing your own device and Easy Connect will enable your content to be shared with others at an unprecedented scale. The same exact video wall technology developed by Cyviz is used by US Military to achieve situational awareness on a tactical level.

As the world evolves, so do the threats faced by the Energy sector. Having the right  technology will enable your teams to better combat these dangers on a daily basis. Cyviz understands the needs required for visualizing complex applications. Through robust partnerships with leading energy companies, Cyviz will continue to enhance collaborative environments for critical decision-making.