One of the biggest fuel pipelines in the U.S. remains shut down following a ransomware cyberattack, resulting in a fuel shortage in the southeastern part of the country. Hackers targeted Colonial Pipeline, which transports over 100 million gallons of gas and other fuel every day from Houston to the New York Harbor.
Fuel shortage in the Southeast
The shutdown of Colonial Pipeline is now on its fifth day. On Friday, the company suspended all operations after being hit by a ransomware attack that could be one of the costliest in U.S. history. Colonial said on Monday that it hopes to have most of its operations back up and running by the weekend, but in the meantime, a fuel shortage has struck the southeastern U.S.
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Citing GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan, the New York Post reports that almost 8% of gas stations in Virginia were out of fuel by early this morning. Additionally, almost 5% of stations in North Carolina, more than 3% of stations in Georgia, and more than 2% of Florida gas stations are also out of fuel.
Due to the fuel shortage, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Monday in an attempt to make sure the state would have plenty of fuel. Many drivers in the Southeast have been buying extra fuel out of panic, which has exacerbated the shortage. Demand for gas in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia jumped 40%.
The latest on the cyberattack
According to ABC News, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Monday that hackers used Darkside ransomware to target Colonial Pipeline. The agency added that it would keep investigating in conjunction with the company and government partners.
Darkside is a criminal organization that operates in Eastern Europe, and investigators are trying to figure out if any country was involved in the cyberattack. Some news reports have suggested that Russia may have been involved, as Moscow has been known to work with Eastern European hackers previously. President Joe Biden said on Monday that there's "no evidence" that Russia was involved, "although there is evidence that the actors' ransomware is in Russia."
Colonial Pipeline issued a statement on Monday, saying that it's working on a phased plan to gradually return to service with "the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week." It also will provide more updates as the restoration of service progresses.