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Cyber Attack Hits Colonial Pipeline

Read Time: 2 mins

The US government was forced to issue emergency legislation on May 9 when Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the US, was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack and had to completely shut down.

The Colonial Pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels a day, 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel. It was knocked offline by a cyber-criminal gang on May 7 and is still working to restore service.

The emergency status relaxes rules on fuel being transported by road and enables drivers in 18 states to work extra or more flexible hours when transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products.

They are Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

In a May 9 statement, Colonial Pipeline said: “Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.

Leading, third-party cybersecurity experts were also immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response.”

It continued to say that bringing its systems back online and maintaining operational safety remained its highest priorities. It is developing a system restart plan, and while some of its 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,” it said.

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