Canary Media Feature: The Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Shutdown

May 20, 2021

NEWS 11 MAY 2021


The U.S. energy infrastructure’s exposure to cyberattack was thrown into stark relief when Colonial Pipeline closed down its 5,500-mile, Texas-to-New Jersey fossil fuel network in response to a ransomware attack.

Now cybersecurity experts are looking at what the country’s most severe energy-sector hack to date could mean for the broader electricity sector — and what industry and government agencies can do to prepare for an increasingly common cyberthreat. Jeff St. John with Canary Media and Jonathon Monken, Principal, Converge Strategies dive into how digital hostage-taking could bring about the breakdown of fossil fuel networks — and threaten the power grid.

“The effectiveness of ransomware in taking down a physical infrastructure system flies in the face of the narrative we’ve heard for the past 10 years from pipeline operators”
— Jonathon Monken, Principal, Converge Strategies in Canary Media

“There’s got to be an open acknowledgement of what the threat is — this type of malware used in an attack like this is readily available on the dark web”
— Jonathon Monken, Principal, Converge Strategies in Canary Media

About Jonathon Monken

Jonathon has deep public and private sector experience in the areas of national security, emergency preparedness, risk management, and energy resilience planning.

During the past several years he pioneered programs to build enterprise-level resilience for the utility sector through information sharing, public and private sector integration, and large-scale exercise development and execution. Previously, he served as VP for the U.S. Operations for the Electric Infrastructure Security (EIS) Council where he worked with government and industry to develop best practices and capabilities to improve the resilience of life support infrastructure systems to widespread, long-duration power outages, known as “Black Sky” events.

Jonathon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Jonathon serves in the Army Reserves supporting the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He is a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

Media Contact

Adair Douglas