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What’s happening with Colonial Pipeline? Outage continues after ransomware attack

The hack is being blamed on the for-profit ransomware group DarkSide. Colonial has provided little concrete detail about when service might be restored.

What’s happening with Colonial Pipeline? Outage continues after ransomware attack
[Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock]
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Colonial Pipeline, which operates a pipeline network providing gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel from Gulf Coast refineries to the U.S. East Coast, largely shuttered pipeline operations after learning Friday it had been hit by a ransomware attack.

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The company still hasn’t provided a firm timeline for when the massive pipeline, which CNBC reports carries almost half of the East Coast’s fuel, would come back online. If service is restored relatively quickly, consumers and other fuel users might not see much disruption, but if the outage continues, there may be price spikes at gas stations. Oil traders are beginning to plan to import more fuel from Europe via ship, Bloomberg reports, and federal officials have taken steps like waiving rules on how long truck drivers can work while they’re transporting petroleum products.

Colonial Pipeline didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from Fast Company.

“The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan,” the company said in a statement Sunday evening. “While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. 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.”

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The company said it took systems down as a precaution, and it’s not clear exactly which of its computers have been affected by the attack.

The hack is being blamed on the for-profit ransomware group DarkSide, and multiple federal agencies are investigating the incident, according to Politico. DarkSide historically has not only held corporate data for ransom, generally encrypting it and demanding a cryptocurrency payment before it’s restored to usability, but has also leaked some information of its victims online.

About the author

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist living in New Orleans.

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