The Colonial Pipeline hack finally made the ransomware crisis real for America, and Americans got really mad

But “there is only so much Biden can do,” says Joshua Motta, the CEO of Coalition, a cybersecurity startup that insures against ransomware and other cybercrimes. Other experts concurred.  

“This has to be a clarion call for businesses,” said Snell, of NTT, who believes industry must embrace ratings for cybersecurity – like health codes posted on the walls of restaurants. In his executive order, Biden mentioned the cybersecurity equivalent of Energy Star ratings for appliances, which Snell said he strongly believes would create a new business priority for cybersecurity. 

Motta says the wheels are already in motion, and the Colonial hack will speed them up. “The private sector has a big role to play,” the insurance CEO says, and “the markets are responding.” His firm won’t insure companies with faulty security, he says, just as home insurers won’t insure homes without fire sprinklers. 

After the sweeping SolarWinds attacks, companies are requiring cybersecurity inspections from their supply-chain partners, says Snell of NTT, which conducts such inspections as part of its business. The Colonial attack will add to that trend, he believes. 

Those market forces can do more than government regulation, the executives believe – and may have just needed a high-profile public moment to pick up momentum. 

“The criminals have accidentally broken through into people’s actual lives,” Motta says. “Without a doubt, I think this is a symbolic event.”

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