US pipeline hit by hackers says fully back to 'normal'

AFP
Washington, United States Published: May 15, 2021, 11:30 PM(IST)

Holding tanks are seen in an aerial photograph at Colonial Pipeline's Dorsey Junction Station in Woodbine, Maryland, US Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Washington believes a Russia-based criminal group known as Darkside had targeted the company in a so-called ransomware attack

The US pipeline network shut down by a cyber attack said Saturday it has returned to fully "normal operations," easing concerns but not immediately ending gas shortages affecting many Eastern states.

Colonial Pipeline had announced late Thursday that its system was back up and running but said it might take days for the supply delivery chain to return to normal. 

But on Saturday, the Georgia-based company announced the full return to normal, "delivering millions of gallons per hour to the markets we serve," it said on Twitter.

Also read | Colonial Pipeline Paid Roughly $5 Million in Ransom to Hackers

Washington believes a Russia-based criminal group known as Darkside had targeted the company in a so-called ransomware attack. 

On Friday, computer servers for Darkside were taken down by unknown actors. Security firm Recorded Future said Darkside had admitted in a web post that it lost access to certain servers, though reportedly only after receiving a $5 million ransom payment from Colonial Pipeline.

Also read | Colonial Pipeline hackers stole large amount of data, says report

Former US Treasury secretary Larry Summers said on CNN that US officials had likely exerted heavy pressure on the Russian leadership to shut down the hackers.

Colonial's temporary shutdown led to panic buying, with frantic motorists from Florida to Maryland lining up at gas stations. The resultant surge in demand sent the national average price above $3 a gallon for the first time since late 2014.

Website GasBuddy said 81 percent of stations in Washington remained out of gas on Saturday, though the numbers in several eastern states were much better. 

Colonial Pipeline operates the largest fuel conduit system in the United States, sending gasoline and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast of Texas to the populous east coast through a pipeline network serving 50 million consumers.

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