Cyberattack shuts down top U.S. fuel pipeline network

taxslave

Hall of Fame Member
Nov 25, 2008
33,449
1,858
113
Vancouver Island

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
28,401
963
113
Top U.S. fuel pipeline remains days from reopening after cyberattack
The pipeline system is the primary fuel artery from Gulf Coast refineries to Mid-Atlantic and southeast states

Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Devika Krishna Kumar
Publishing date:May 10, 2021 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
Holding tanks are seen at Colonial Pipeline's Linden Junction Tank Farm in Woodbridge, New Jersey, U.S.
Holding tanks are seen at Colonial Pipeline's Linden Junction Tank Farm in Woodbridge, New Jersey, U.S. PHOTO BY COLONIAL PIPELINE HANDOUT /Via Reuters
Article content
NEW YORK — The biggest U.S. gasoline pipeline will not resume full operations for several more days due to a ransomware cyberattack blamed on a shadowy criminal network called DarkSide.

The attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which carries nearly half the fuel consumed along the U.S. East Coast, is one of the most disruptive digital ransom schemes ever reported.


While the impact remains to be quantified, the pipeline shutdown will reduce fuel availability in the near term, push up prices and force refiners to cut production because they have no way to ship the gas.

The privately owned company said on Monday it was working on restarting in phases with “the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week.”


The FBI attributed the cyberattack to DarkSide, a group believed to be based in Russia or Eastern Europe. Its ransomware targets computers that do not use keyboards in the languages of former Soviet republics, cyber experts said.

Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article content
President Joe Biden said there was no evidence thus far that Russia’s government was involved.

‘GOAL IS TO MAKE MONEY’

A statement issued in the group’s name on Monday said: “Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society.” Its statement did not mention Colonial Pipeline by name.

Ransomware is a type of malware designed to lock computers by encrypting data. The hackers demand payment to let the owner regain access. It is unknown how much money the hackers are seeking, and Colonial has not commented on whether it would pay.

Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cybersecurity, told reporters that the Biden administration is not offering advice on whether Colonial should pay the ransom.

Colonial on Friday shut its 5,500-mile (8,850-km) pipeline network, which moves fuels including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, to protect its systems.


The episode laid bare the vulnerabilities of energy infrastructure to hackers. U.S. lawmakers responded with calls for stronger protections for critical energy infrastructure.

A spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the attack showed that U.N. member states needed to combat cybercrime to avoid a “devastating impact on the world that we all live in.”

Colonial restarted some smaller lines on Sunday between fuel terminals and customer delivery points, releasing fuel stored locally to customers. On Monday, it also began manually operating its 700,000-barrel-per-day multi-product fuel line between Greensboro, North Carolina, and Maryland for a limited time while it has existing inventories.

Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article content
But its main lines remained shut, and an alternative, smaller conduit operated by Kinder Morgan Inc serving the same region reached capacity.

The outage hit ahead of the summer vacation season, when gasoline demand and airline travel tend to peak.

PAIN AT THE PUMP?

Fearing shortages, consumers in the southeastern United States rushed to refuel. Gas stations in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee were seeing some panic buying, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

The American Automobile Association said the national average gasoline price climbed to $2.96 a gallon and could climb to its highest level since 2014.

In Georgia, trucking company owner Marcus Blash worried because his business cannot store fuel on site to hedge against price surges.

“We pay at the pump,” he said. “It hasn’t hit us yet, but this is going to hurt big time.”

Florida resident Katina Willey went to several gas stations before she found one that had fuel available. “There were lines at three of the five stations I tried,” she said.

If the disruption stretches on, fuel suppliers could ship by truck and rail instead. The Department of Transportation on Sunday lifted driver restrictions on fuel haulers in 17 states affected by the shutdown.

U.S. fuel importers are booking tankers to bring gasoline from Europe. U.S. refiners including Motiva Enterprises and Total cut output at Gulf Coast plants on Monday because of a lack of transport.
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
28,401
963
113
'Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline' U.S. warns as shortages grow over ransomware attack
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Chris Sanders
Publishing date:May 12, 2021 • 8 hours ago • 3 minute read • 20 Comments
Bags cover gas pump handles at a Quick Trip gas station in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 12, 2021.
Bags cover gas pump handles at a Quick Trip gas station in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 12, 2021. PHOTO BY LOGAN CYRUS /AFP via Getty Images
Article content
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday warned Americans to not fill plastic bags with gasoline as fuel shortages worsened on the sixth day of a pipeline outage and consumers raced to secure supplies.

“Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline” the agency said on Twitter, followed by “Use only containers approved for fuel.”


A ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline last week halted 2.5 million barrels per day of fuel shipments. On Wednesday, fuel shortages worsened in the southeastern United States, as gasoline stations ran out of supply in some cities.

The supply crunch and panic buying have brought long lines and high prices at the pump ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of this month, which traditionally marks the start of the peak summer driving season.

Getting consumers to think more carefully was an important theme for the agency, which also tweeted an acknowledgement that “when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly.” The agency asked consumers to tell people using a container not meant for fuel: “please let them know it’s dangerous.”


Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article content
The agency stressed that it does not mean to talk down to consumers.

“Sometimes when we put out a safety message like this people use it as a way to look down on others. We ask that instead you use this as an opportunity to reflect on safety in your own life,” it said in another tweet.


Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article content
Privately owned Colonial Pipeline manually opened portions of the line to release needed supplies in Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey and the Carolinas. It has accepted 2 million barrels of fuel to begin a restart that would “substantially” restore operations by week’s end, the company said.

The supply crunch sparked panic buying by motorists, bringing long lines and high prices at gas stations ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend at the end of this month, the traditional start of the peak summer driving season.

The average national gasoline price rose to above $3.00 a gallon on Wednesday, the highest since October 2014, the American Automobile Association said.

Nearly 60% of gas stations in metro Atlanta were without gasoline on Wednesday, tracking firm GasBuddy said. More than 70% of stations were out in metro Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, and Pensacola, Florida. Virginia and South Carolina also saw relatively high outages.

Four southeastern states – Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia – joined federal regulators in relaxing driver and fuel restrictions to speed deliveries of supplies. Georgia suspended sales tax on gasoline until Saturday.

The FBI has accused a shadowy criminal gang called DarkSide of the ransomware attack. DarkSide is believed to be based in Russia or Eastern Europe.

Russia’s embassy in the United States rejected speculation that Moscow was behind the attack. President Joe Biden on Monday said there was no evidence so far that Russia was responsible.

Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article content
It is unknown how much money the hackers are seeking, and Colonial has not commented on whether it would pay.


Gulf Coast refiners that move fuel to market on the Colonial Pipeline have cut processing. Total SE trimmed gasoline production at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, and Citgo Petroleum pared back at its Lake Charles, Louisiana, plant.

Citgo said it was moving products from Lake Charles and “exploring alternate supply methods into other impacted markets.” Marathon Petroleum, another large refiner, said it was “making adjustments” to operations.

Colonial also serves major U.S. airports, including Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the world’s busiest by passenger traffic.
 
  • Like
Reactions: taxslave

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
28,401
963
113
Colonial Pipeline paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom: Report
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Stephanie Kelly
Publishing date:May 13, 2021 • 18 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
A bagged nozzle at a pump notifies motorists that it no longer has fuel after a cyberattack crippled the biggest fuel pipeline in the country, run by Colonial Pipeline, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, May 12, 2021.
A bagged nozzle at a pump notifies motorists that it no longer has fuel after a cyberattack crippled the biggest fuel pipeline in the country, run by Colonial Pipeline, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, May 12, 2021. PHOTO BY JONATHAN DRAKE /REUTERS
Article content
Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday after a crippling cyberattack that shut the largest fuel pipeline network in the United States, Bloomberg News reported, citing two people familiar with the transaction.

The company paid the ransom in untraceable cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, according to the report.

'Go Yankees': Alex Rodriguez reacts to Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's reunion

Trackerdslogo
After a six-day outage, the top U.S. fuel pipeline on Thursday moved some of the first millions of gallons of motor fuels after a crippling cyberattack led to fuel shortages across East Coast states.

Colonial, which carries 100 million gallons per day of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, said Thursday it had begun supplying some fuel to most areas along its 5,500 mile (8,850 km) route.

The pipeline resumed computer-controlled pumping late Wednesday after adding safety measures.


The shutdown caused gasoline shortages and emergency declarations from Virginia to Florida, led two refineries to curb production, and had airlines reshuffling some refueling operations.

Advertisement
STORY CONTINUES BELOW

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article content
The pipeline’s restart should bring supplies to some hard-hit areas as soon as Thursday, said U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. She added that the fuel market should return to normal by the end of the weekend.

“Relief is coming,” added Jeanette McGee, a spokeswoman for motor travel group AAA.

Motorists’ tempers frayed as panic buying led stations to run out even where supplies were available.

The average national gasoline price rose above $3.00 a gallon, the highest since October 2014, the American Automobile Association said, and prices in some areas jumped as much as 11 cents in a day.

As FBI cybersleuths dug into an attack that paralyzed a large part of the U.S. energy infrastructure, the group believed to be responsible said it was publishing data from breaches at three other companies, including an Illinois technology firm.


It was not known how much money the hackers were seeking and the pipeline operator has declined to comment. Colonial has a type of insurance that typically covers ransom payments, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

To stem fuel shortages, four states and federal regulators relaxed fuel driver restrictions to speed deliveries of fresh supplies. Georgia suspended a sales tax on gasoline until Saturday.

The U.S. also issued a waiver to an undisclosed shipper allowing it to transport gasoline and diesel from the U.S. Gulf coast to East Coast ports on foreign-flagged vessels. The U.S. restricts deliveries between domestic ports to U.S.-built and crewed vessels.

Gulf Coast refiners that move fuel to market on the Colonial Pipeline had cut processing as an alternative pipeline filled to capacity last weekend. Total SE trimmed gasoline production at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery and Citgo Petroleum pared back at its Lake Charles, Louisiana, plant.

Airlines began refueling planes at their destinations, instead of usual departure points. On Wednesday, Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian said more fuel would be available “hopefully by the end of the week and as long as those predictions come true, hopefully we’ll be OK.”