The US oil pipeline has restarted after a cyberattack, but shortages remain

The US oil pipeline has restarted after a cyberattack, but shortages remain

The US oil company Colonial has begun restarting a pipeline after a cyberattack. Hackers encrypted the system software with ransomware last Friday and demanded a ransom.

At 8,850 kilometers, it is the longest oil pipeline in the United States, and runs from the Gulf Coast in the south to the area around New York. 2.5 million barrels of oil pass through each day, nearly half of the total fuel for the east coast of the United States.

The supply cutoff has resulted in a shortage of pumping in the area where the pipeline runs: In states such as Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, half of the pumping stations have run out of fuel. Long queues have appeared elsewhere, in part because motorists have started stocking up on fuel.

The Colonial Hack was the most destructive cyber attack ever to hit the US energy infrastructure. Although the intruders failed to gain control of the pipeline, the entire system was taken offline as a precaution while searching for a solution.

Requirements are not addressed

According to the FBI, the hacker group DarkSide is behind the cyberattack, a criminal organization from Eastern Europe. US President Biden added that Russian authorities often turn a blind eye to these types of criminals. It is not known how much ransom the perpetrators requested. Colonial says the demands of the hackers have not been addressed.

The White House describes the attack as a warning that shows the vulnerability of sensitive systems in the United States. According to Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, this demonstrates the importance of the billions of dollars in infrastructure investment that President Biden has proposed: “This is not an add-on, it is not a luxury, nor a non-binding option. It has to be at the heart of how to secure the necessary infrastructure.”

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Biden speaks to the press about the issue today. As a result of this hack and problems at Microsoft, it was announced yesterday that there will be such a system in place for aviation security already, so that a major breach as well as a plane disaster will be investigated. It also reached more stringent safety requirements for government programs.

Weeks after the affliction

To alleviate the initial shortage of gas stations, several states have agreed to additional fuel transportation by road. Some local branches of the Colonial Pipeline have also been manually opened.

It will take another few days for the pipeline to return as much oil as before. All deficiencies must be removed within a week or two.

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