Ransomware Attack Halts Gas Transportation on the East Coast

On Friday, Colonial Pipeline shut down a vital pipe that transfers oil across the East Coast in response to a ransomware attack that occurred last week.

The attackers did not hijack the pipeline, but Colonial closed it because the confiscated data may have revealed weak points in the pipe’s infrastructure. The pipeline provides roughly 45 percent of the fuel on the east coast.

Along with gas, the pipeline carries jet fuel and home heating oil. Gas prices have raised only 1 cent on average, but experts worry that number may grow over this week. Shortages are also a concern.

Because gas is usually delivered just once a week, Colonial has a few days to rectify the issue before consumers see an impact. The privately held company is tight-lipped though, leading cybersecurity professionals to believe the Georgia-based company is planning to pay the ransom.

Anonymous sources revealed to the Associated Press that DarkSide, a young but highly successful criminal organization, is behind the ransomware attack. Experts often compare DarkSide to Robin Hood, borrowing the phrase “steal from the rich and give to the poor.” The group shares its profits with charity organizations, and most targets are high-value corporations. DarkSide also claims to spare hospitals, educational institutions, and governments.

To mitigate the situation, the US Department of Transportation has temporarily loosened restrictions on vehicular petroleum transport. Drivers are now able to work longer and more flexible hours. Although this will help, the East Coast can still expect higher gas prices if Colonial does not make a move soon.

The New York Times has the full story.

Updating IT infrastructure is one of the most important steps in securing your data from ransomware attacks. Colocation and other data center solutions are also lifelines in situations like this. Learn more about how SH Data Tech can help you by contacting us today!

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Aaron Sherrill

Aaron is the Chief Technology Officer at TenHats leading the technology, cybersecurity, and data center teams of our organization. He has 25+ years of IT and security experience spanning across a variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and software development.

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