You might have heard about the gas shortage that occurred in early May due to the infection of Colonial Pipeline’s computer systems with ransomware, courtesy of unnamed hackers.
This incident is just the most recent in a growing number of cyberattacks on cities, schools, and even hospitals – the aim being to infect a computer with a virus that scrambles the data and extorts payment to decrypt them again.
In the case of Colonial Pipeline, Russian hacker group Darkside stole about 100 gigabytes of data and threatened to leak it to the public if $5 million was not paid. According to reports from Bloomberg, Colonial paid the ransom with cryptocurrency.
What’s particularly frightening about these attacks is twofold.
First, it brings to light how woefully vulnerable our country’s vital infrastructure is to cyberattacks – and hopefully, this gets addressed in the coming months.
Second, the resulting gasoline panic-buying we witnessed after the hijacking has made it very clear how quickly we make hasty decisions when the news of the day is scary. We saw the same thing happen last year when COVID hit, and people were hoarding cleaning supplies, masks, and toilet paper en masse.
Side note – people were filling up garbage bags and any containers they could find with gas due to fears of fuel shortages. Imagine trying to get the smell of ethanol out of your car?
We know that we should be making decisions based on logic, not emotion – but that’s not how people work.
The problem is that making hasty decisions can cause you to make mistakes with your financial future that you can’t correct. A financial advisor looking out for your best interests will make sure that this doesn’t happen. No, we don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, but we know better than most that the markets will rebound after a downturn. We’ve seen it time and time again.