Pipeline Hit by Ransomware Hopes to Restart by Finish of Week

An oil and gas pipeline system that had to be shut down on Friday after a ransomware attack is not expected to be “substantially” restored until the end of the week, the operator Colonial Pipeline announced on Monday.

“As this situation continues to flow and evolve, the colonial operations team is executing a plan that includes an incremental process that will make it easier to get back up and running gradually,” said a statement posted on its website. “This plan is based on a number of factors, security and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week.”

The company said it monitored its customers’ shipments and worked with shippers to move fuel. Oil and gas prices, which had risen earlier on Monday, peaked the day after the Colonial Declaration.

The sudden shutdown of 5,500 miles of pipeline, which the company claims comprises nearly half of the east coast’s fuel supply, was a worrying sign of weaknesses in the country’s energy infrastructure and raised concerns about fuel supplies to much of the country.

Experts said several airports that depend on the jet fuel pipeline, including those in Nashville, Baltimore-Washington and Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham, NC, could have trouble later in the week. Airports usually store enough jet fuel for three to five days of operation.

The FBI said Monday that the attack was the work of a hacking group called DarkSide.
The confirmation of the hack comes as the Biden administration is expected to announce an ordinance to strengthen the American cyberdefense infrastructure in the coming days.

Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor on cyber and emerging technologies, said Monday that the government sees DarkSide as a “criminal actor” but is looking for links the group may have with nation states. She added that Colonial had not requested cyber assistance from the government and could not confirm whether the company, a private company, paid a ransom.

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