Ransomware attack hits Suncor Energy disrupting fuel station payments across Canada

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Numerous gas and fuel filling stations throughout Canada experienced significant disruptions in processing credit card and reward points-based payments due to a cyber attack on Suncor Energy, the parent company. The attack, suspected to be a form of ransomware, affected a substantial number of systems within the leading synthetic crude oil producer.

While Suncor Energy has not explicitly confirmed the ransomware attack, it acknowledged the incident as a digital assault that impacted its operations. As a result, more than 900 out of a total of 1,500-1,600 gas stations were affected, leading to the inability to process digital transactions. The disruption also impacted the “Carwash Season Pass” service, leaving many customers unable to utilize their regular subscriptions, thereby prompting requests for refunds from the Canadian Oil Company.

In April of this year, a Russian ransomware group called Zarya targeted a Canadian energy company, a fact confirmed by the US Pentagon. Security experts speculate that the recent attack on Suncor Energy may be linked to hackers sympathetic to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict that commenced on February 24, 2022, and shows no signs of resolution.

NOTE- Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts data within an infected database until a ransom is paid. In some cases, this type of attack involves double extortion, where hackers steal a portion of the data and hold the remaining information hostage. If the victim fails to pay the ransom within the stipulated time frame, the hackers may proceed to sell the stolen data on the dark web. Additionally, some victims may be targeted multiple times within a year, especially if they pay the initial ransom in exchange for a decryption key. Criminal gangs behind such attacks may then demand further cryptocurrency payments under the threat of tarnishing the company’s image among its partners, customers, and clients.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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