One of America’s largest pipeline operators, Colonial Pipeline, suffered a ransomware cyber attack on the company’s computer infrastructure forcing the company to shut all of its pipelines down. Colonial supplies about 45% of all fuels that the U.S. east coast uses via its pipelines from Houston. Approximately 2.5 billion barrels of gasoline and other refined hydrocarbon products pass through Colonial Pipeline network each day. The retail price of gas is expected to rise during the shutdown that will affect parts of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina along with large customers such as airports like Atlanta.
Colonial said it plans to keep its primary computer system offline which in turn keeps the pipelines shut off until they can bring secondary backup systems online and fully functional while they work to isolate and remove malware within their primary computer network. Though cyber hacking against U.S. companies, infrastructure and the U.S. government is often state sponsored such as Russia, North Korea and Iran, officials have said that it appears in this current attack is was more rogue hacking.
Ransomware is used by unethical hackers to lock up a company’s computer system until the company pays the hacker.