Provides about 45% of all fuel consumed on the east coast of the country
Georgia- A company operating a major oil pipeline in the United States announced that after the hacking, the company was forced to temporarily suspend all operations of the pipeline, which transports about 45% of all fuel consumed to the east coast of the country.
Colonial Pipeline explained in a statement that the attack occurred on Friday and also affected some of its computer systems. The company transports gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and petroleum for home heating from refineries located mainly on the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico through the Texas-New Jersey pipeline.
The Alpharetta, Georgia company said it hired an external cybersecurity company to investigate the nature and scope of the attack, and contacted federal and law enforcement agencies.
The company said in a statement late Friday: “The colony pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue.” “At the moment, our main focus is on the safe and efficient restoration of services and our efforts to resume normal operations. This process is already underway, and we are working hard to resolve this issue and minimize interference with our customers and their customers trust the colony pipeline.”
Oil analyst Andy Lipow said the impact of the attack on fuel supply and prices depends on how long the pipeline is idle. He said that one to two days of interruption is minimal, but five to six days of interruption may cause shortages and price increases, especially in the area from central Alabama to Washington, DC.
Lip said that the key issue for the long delay will be the supply of jet fuel, which is necessary to keep several major airports operating normally, such as the planes in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.
The exact nature of the attack is unclear, including who launched the attack and what the motive was. A spokeswoman for Colonial Pipeline declined to say whether the company received a ransom request, which is common in hacker attacks.
The so-called “ransomware” encrypts the computer data of the attacked organization. The criminals will leave instructions on how to negotiate the ransom payment on the infected computer and provide the decryption key for the ransomware after payment. The enemies of the United States will disrupt the operations of American energy suppliers, and ransomware attacks are more common and have recently exploded.
The company said on its page that it operates the largest refined oil pipeline in the United States, transporting more than 360 million liters of fuel through a pipeline system of more than 8,900 kilometers per day.