United States braces for fuel shortage, price hike after fuel pipeline cyber-attack

The United States government issued an emergency legislature on Sunday after the nation’s largest fuel pipeline was hit by a ransomeware attack.

The Colonial Pipeline carries about 2.5 million barrels each day, which makes 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

The attack completely knocked off the supply since Friday.

The emergency legislature allows fuel to be transported by road. 18 states were granted a temporary hours of service waiver for transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products.

The temporary waiver issued by the Department of Transportation enables oil products to be shipped in tankers, but this would not be anywhere near enough to match the pipeline’s capacity

They are Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The attack is expected to raise the fuel prices along the East Coast by at least 3 percent.

Media reports identified the ransomware attack was caused by a cyber-criminal gang called DarkSide, who infiltrated Colonial’s network on Thursday and took almost 100GB of data hostage.

After seizing the data, the hackers locked the data on some computers and servers, demanding a ransom on Friday. If it is not paid, they are threatening to leak it onto the internet.

Colonial said it is working with law enforcement, cyber-security experts and the Department of Energy to restore service.

On Sunday evening it said that although its four mainlines remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational.

“Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring,” the firm said.

“We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.”