The US Colonial Pipeline Ransomware cyber-attack closes network, one of the after-effects is a gas shortage and a price hike per gallon.
US Colonial Pipeline Ransomware cyber-attack crippled by hackers
According to reports, the operator Colonial Pipeline after an online hack caused by ransomware, the company shut down the entire network, impacting nearly half of the East Coast'sCoast's fuel supply, reported Epoch Times.
After learning about the attack on Friday, the firm said it shut down networks to mitigate the threat. According to the firm, this action also temporarily halted operations and compromised some of its IT systems.
If the shutdown persists, there are concerns of a price spike at the pump ahead of the peak travel driving season, and it has exposed how exposed the United States'States' fuel infrastructure is to hackers.
Brian Bethune, an applied economics professor at Boston College, said the effect on consumer prices should be marginal as long as the shutdown does not last more than a week or two. "Moreover, it indicates how weak our infrastructure is to these types of cyberwarfare," he said, noted USA Today.
The shutdown happened when energy prices are still increasing as the economy reopens after easing pandemic restrictions. According to the AAA auto club, the nationwide average for a gallon of standard gasoline has climbed 4 cents from Monday to $2.94.
From the US Colonial Pipeline Ransomware cyber-attack hacking on Friday, gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 0.6 percent to $2.1269 a gallon. In comparison, diesel futures rose 1.1 percent to $2.0106 a gallon, outpacing crude oil gains. Meanwhile, cash prices for gasoline and diesel in the Gulf Coast fell slightly on expectations that supplies would build up in the area.
Sources say the firm supplies 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined products each day through pipelines that stretch 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) through Gulf Coast refineries to the eastern US.
Enter the DarkSide
Investigators of the US government say it's still in its early stages; one former official and two industry sources suggest the hackers would be most likely a highly experienced cybercriminal squad. According to the former government official, investigators suspect a group called "DarkSide" by the cybersecurity research community is responsible.
DarkSide is notorious for using ransomware to extort money from victims while avoiding post-Soviet countries.
Colonial said last Saturday that the malicious software used in the attack is ransomware. Its malware that encrypts data and asks for money to regain access to the system. Over the last five years, the malware has grown in popularity.
Cybersecurity industry sources say the cybersecurity firm FireEye has been brought in to respond to the threat. FireEye did not respond to a call for comment.
Noted by Reuters, the Transportation Security Administration is collaborating with other agencies to address the situation. Colonial did not have any further information or a timeline for when its pipelines will be shut down.
According to Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the cyberattack was a premonition of things to come. Noting how vulnerable the US has become under the leadership of Joe Biden.
"This is a play that will be continued, and we are not adequately prepared," he said, adding that lawmakers should pass a plan to harden sectors against such attacks. The US Colonial Pipeline Ransomware cyber-attack will not be the last to be hacked.