Cyberattack! Key U.S. Energy Pipeline Closes After Ransomware Assault

The Wall Street Journal:

Colonial Pipeline carries roughly 45% of gasoline and diesel fuel consumed on the East Coast

The cyberattack on Colonial appeared to involve ransomware, a type of code that attempts to seize computer systems and demand payment from the victim to have them unlocked, according to a person familiar with the matter. The investigation was in its early stages, the person said.

The main pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to the U.S. East Coast was shut down by its operator after being hit with a cyberattack.

Colonial Pipeline Co.—which operates the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline system taking fuel from the refineries of the Gulf Coast up to the New York metro area—said it learned Friday that it was the victim of the attack and “took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations.”

The outage isn’t expected to have a significant impact on fuel markets unless the pipeline remains shut down for several days, analysts said.

The company said it had engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to help with the issue, which affected some of its IT systems, and had contacted federal agencies and law enforcement.

FireEye Inc., a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, is investigating the attack, according to people familiar with the matter. A FireEye spokesman declined to comment.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which works with critical infrastructure companies on cyber defense, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

It wasn’t clear whether the attack was perpetrated by a nation-state actor or criminal actor. Attributing cyberattacks is difficult and can often take months or longer.

More at The Wall Street Journal

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