By Emma Nitzsche
In a Sunday interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said businesses should brace themselves for cyberattacks.
Raimondo warned American business owners to back up their data, enable two-factor authentication, and stay vigilant against attacks. Raimondo noted that businesses should “assume that cyberattacks are here to stay and will only intensify.”
Two days later, Raimondo’s reminder hit close to home.
On Tuesday, almost 60 offices in the U.S. House could not retrieve valuable constituent information from the vendor iConstituent. The tech vendor had reportedly been hit by a ransomware attack, making it impossible for dozens of House offices to utilize the software.
The chief administrative officer of the House, Catherine Szpindor, assured officials that her office would address the incident, but the problem remains unsolved.
“The CAO is coordinating with the impacted offices supported by iConstituent and has taken measures to ensure that the attack does not affect the House network and offices’ data,” said Szpindor.
She also assured House members that no evidence suggested broader House information technology systems had been breached or compromised.
Unfortunately, the cyberattack on the House is not unique and is yet another breach in a long line of attacks on U.S. companies.
In May, work stopped at several U.S. meat processing plants after JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, dealt with a cyberattack. JBS said that a criminal group likely based in Russia was responsible for the attack. After shortages, the meat producer made significant progress in resolving the issue and recovered the lost production in a week.
“Any lost production across the company’s global business will be fully recovered by the end of next week, limiting any potential negative impact on producers, consumers and the company’s workforce,” said JBS in a statement.
In early May, many American drivers saw an increase in gas prices after a ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline.
The incident raised consumer anxiety and caused long lines at the pump. Shortages mixed with panic buying temporarily shut down gas pumps in several cities. The panic intensified so much that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency and halted motor vehicle fuel regulations.
After five days, the pipeline finally came back on, gas flowed freely, and panicked consumers began to relax. But the impact of the cyberattack still holds long-lasting consequences. Because of the delay, the company could not meet immediate demands for gas, and many regions continue to see high gas prices.