Out of Gas: A Deep Dive Into the Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack


In May 2021, the United States received an abrupt education about the Colonial Pipeline after a cyberattack caused a gas shortage along the East Coast, leading to a state of emergency. The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline caused many businesses, residents, and airports to enter a crisis mode and scramble to find alternative fuel sources and adjust plans during the beginning of the summer season and reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic shut downs.

This case demonstrates many concepts of public relations and business communication in practice, including crisis communication, internal communication, employee relations, and security. Through an examination and understanding of what happened during the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, we can learn how to be more prepared for a crisis and how to effectively respond when one inevitably occurs.

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