Experts: National infrastructure should learn from Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Gas supply has been down the past several days and cybersecurity experts say it's not the only industry that could fall victim to this sort of cyber hack.

They say the same advanced hack that's caused a gas frenzy could impact the water supply or your personal savings account, without proper protection.

"We are doing all we can to ensure our employees and agencies are well equipped to respond," Gov. Brian Kemp said at a news conference Wednesday. He announced a cyber advisory board, acknowledging what's happened to the Colonial Pipeline could happen to some other entity if the state isn't prepared.

For days, we've told you experts say not to panic buy at the pump, after hackers shut down a pipeline that supplies gas to most of the east coast.

RELATED: Colonial Pipeline sought a cyber-security manager months before hack

Not everyone has taken that warning, but cybersecurity experts hope this one will stick.

"We should all take this opportunity to think about our own personal cybersecurity," Bryson Payne, a cybersecurity professor at the University of North Georgia said. He suggests changing your passwords on your smart devices — especially the larger ones in your living room, such as an Alexa device or internet router.

He says cyberattacks like the one on the pipeline are relatively new.

RELATED: Colonial Pipeline attack: Need fuel? Apps show where to fill up as gas stations run on empty

"This ransomware has only been around for 2 years, but is doing terrible damage out there," he said. "[They're] taking people's life savings in some cases ... and now critical infrastructure like the pipeline."

Payne considers it one of the worst hacks out there and similar attacks could target national infrastructure and you at home, watching this report.

 "This is the same type of double extortion ransomware going through hospitals, cities, counties and private industry and homes across the US," Payne said.

 Payne says hackers silently steal data from your computer. Then they block access to it — demanding money to open the technology up again. If it's not paid, the threats worsen. 

That's why Payne says the gas station drama is just one example of how — without proper protection — hackers can upend our lives.

The main takeaway, Payne says, is this could impact any industry, and everyone should be aware of their cybersecurity. Colonial has already taken steps to secure their systems and reopen the pipeline, so the panic buying, experts say, needs to stop and never should have started. 

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