CM – Cyber ​​Attack Closes US Fuel Pipeline, Biden Briefed

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The leading US fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline closed its entire network, which provides almost half of the fuel supply on the US east coast, following a cyber attack with ransomware on Friday.

The incident is one of the most disruptive digital ransom operations ever reported and has drawn attention to the vulnerability of the US energy infrastructure to hackers. Longer line shutdowns would cause the price of gasoline pumps to spike ahead of the peak summer season, which could mean a potential blow to US consumers and the economy.

« This is as close as possible to the US infrastructure « said Amy Myers Jaffe, research professor and executive director of the Climate Policy Lab. « It’s not a big pipeline. It’s the pipeline. »

Colonial transports 2.5 million barrels of gasoline and other fuels per day over 8,850 km of pipelines that connect refineries on the Gulf Coast with the eastern and southern United States. It also serves some of the largest airports in the country, including Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta, the busiest in the world.

The company announced that it had ceased operations after learning of a ransomware cyberattack on Friday.

« Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue. Right now our primary focus is on the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operations, » it said.

While The US government’s investigation is at an early stage, a former official and two industry sources said the hackers are likely a professional cybercriminal.

The former official said investigators were looking at a group called DarkSide, known for using ransomware and blackmailing victims while avoiding targets in post-Soviet states. Ransomware is a type of malware designed to lock down systems by encrypting data and demanding payment in order to regain access.

Colonial said it hired a cybersecurity firm to help with the investigation and itself Law enforcement and federal authorities.

Cybersecurity industry sources said cybersecurity company FireEye was called in to respond to the attack. FireEye declined to comment.

US government agencies, including the FBI, said they were aware of the situation but did not yet have details on who was behind the attack.

President Joe Biden was announced Saturday morning informed of the incident, a White House spokesman said, adding that the government is working to help the company restore operations and prevent disruptions to supplies.

The Department of Energy said it had a potential impact on that The country’s energy supply is being monitored while both the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Transportation Safety Authority Reuters said they were working on the situation.

« We are working with the company and our agents on the situation. This underscores the threat that ransomware poses to businesses regardless of size or industry, ”see below acted by Eric Goldstein, vice president of cybersecurity at CISA.

The privately held Georgia-based company is owned by CDPQ Colonial Partners LP, IFM (USA) Colonial Pipeline 2 LLC, KKR-Keats Pipeline Investors LP, Koch Capital Investments Company LLC and Shell Midstream Operating LLC.

« Cybersecurity vulnerabilities have become a systemic problem, » said Algirde Pipikaite, director of cyber strategy at the World Economic Forum’s Cybersecurity Center.

« When cybersecurity measures don’t get into the development of a technology embedded, we are likely to see attacks on industrial systems such as oil and gas pipelines or water treatment plants more frequently, « added Pipikaite. The American Automobile Association said prolonged line downtime could lead to a spike in gasoline prices at the pumps what worries consumers ahead of the summer driving season.

A For example, a four or five day shutdown could result in sporadic outages at fuel terminals along the U.S. east coast that depend on the pipeline for supplies, said Andrew Lipow, president of consulting firm Lipow Oil Associates.

After the shutdown first appeared on Friday On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gasoline futures were up 0.6% while diesel futures were up 1.1%, both of which outperformed crude oil gains. Gulf Coast cash prices for gasoline and diesel have declined due to the prospect of supplies building up in the region. « Every day this is becoming a bigger impact on the Gulf Coast oil refinery, » said Lipow. « Refineries would have to respond by reducing crude oil processing because they lost part of the distribution system. » Oil refining companies contacted by Reuters on Saturday said their operations had not yet been impacted.

Kinder Morgan Inc meanwhile, said Pipe Line Corporation (PPL) for Products (SE) serving many of the same regions remains in full operation.

PPL is currently working with customers to accommodate additional kegs during Colonial’s downtime . PPL can deliver around 720,000 bpd of fuel through its Louisiana-Washington, DC pipeline network.

The American Petroleum Institute, a leading oil trading group, said it is monitoring the situation.

Ben Sasse, a Republican Senator from Nebraska and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said the cyberattack was a wake-up call for US lawmakers. « This is a piece that is being rerun and we are not adequately prepared, » he said. Congress should pass an infrastructure plan to protect the sectors against these attacks.

Colonial had previously shut down its gasoline and distillate lines during Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast in 2017. This contributed to scarce supplies and soaring gasoline prices in the US after the hurricane forced many golf refineries to close.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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