Top US fuel pipeline network shut down due to cyber attack

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: May 08, 2021, 11:52 PM(IST)

More than 150 countries were hit in the attack. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The pipeline company transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines linking refiners on the Gulf Coast to the eastern and southern United States

US pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline shut its entire network after a cyber attack believed to have been caused by ransomware. The pipeline network of Colonial Pipeline conveys nearly half of US East Coast's fuel supply.

The company transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines linking refiners on the Gulf Coast to the eastern and southern United States.

Colonial Pipelines said in its statement that it shut down systems to contain the threat after it learnt about it on Friday.

Reuters quoted a former US government official and two industry sources who said that the hackers are likely from a highly professional cybercriminal group. US government investigation is underway.

Investigators are looking into whether a group dubbed "DarkSide" by the cybersecurity research community is responsible, the former government official said.

DarkSide is known for deploying ransomware and extorting victims, while selectively avoiding targets in post-Soviet states.

The malicious software used in the attack was ransomware, two cybersecurity industry sources familiar with the matter said. Ransomware is a type of malware that is designed to lock down systems by encrypting data and demanding payment to regain access. The malware has grown in popularity over the last five years.

Colonial has engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to launch an investigation and contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies, it said.

Cybersecurity company FireEye has been brought in to respond to the attack, the cybersecurity industry sources said. FireEye declined to comment when asked if it was working on the incident.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration told Reuters it is working with other agencies on the situation.

Colonial did not give further details or say for how long its pipelines would be shut.

(With inputs from agencies)

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