US oil pipeline rebooted after cyber attack, but deficits remain

The American oil company Colonial has started the restart of a pipeline following a cyber attack. Hackers had ransomware encrypted the systems software last Friday and demanded ransom.

It is the longest oil pipeline in the United States, which runs from the Gulf Coast in the south to the region around New York. Every day, a quantity of oil passes through it, equivalent to 2.5 million barrels, almost half of all fuel off the US East Coast.

The supply stagnation caused a shortage of the pump in the area where the pipeline runs: in states like Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, half of the pumping stations ran out of fuel. In other places long rows were created, partly because motorists started hoarding fuel.

Colonials hack was the most disruptive cyber attack ever on American energy infrastructure. Although the hackers failed to take over the pipeline, as a precaution the entire system was taken offline while a solution was sought.

Not responded to requirements

According to the FBI, the hacker group DarkSide is behind the cyber attack, a criminal organization from Eastern Europe. American President Biden added that the Russian authorities often let these criminals go by a blind eye. It is not known how much ransom the perpetrators demanded. Colonial says the hackers demands have not been taken into account.

The White House calls the attack a warning that shows how fragile essential systems in the United States can be. According to Transport Minister Buttigieg, this proves the importance of the billion-dollar investment in infrastructure proposed by President Biden: โ€œThat is no extra, no luxury, no choice. It has to be at the heart of how we secure necessary infrastructure.โ€

Biden is talking to the press today about the case. As a result of this hack and problems at Microsoft, he announced yesterday that there will be a system like that already exists for aviation safety, so that a large hack will be investigated as well as a flight disaster. He also came up with stricter security requirements for government software.

Weeks of aftermath

To reduce the first tightness at pumping stations, several states have approved additional transport of fuel by road. Also, some local branches of the Colonial pipeline have been opened manually.

It will take a few more days for the pipeline to deliver as much oil as before. All deficits must be eliminated in a week or two.