On Friday, the Colonial Pipeline, a major US pipeline transporting almost half the fuel consumed on the US East Coast, was targeted in a ransomware attack by a suspected hacker group under the name "DarkSide." The group seized the Colonial Pipeline Company's system and data and demanded money in order to restore service.
As a result, the pipeline has been forced to shut down for 3 days in order to contain the threat, and the U.S. government was forced to step in to keep fuel moving during the shutdown.
This incident threatens to drive up fuel prices significantly due to the sudden shortage. The attack forced Gulf coast refineries to cut production by up to 500,000 barrels a day and drove up gasoline demand in areas served by the pipeline by around 4% as concerns grew over the potential of a prolonged shortage.
Currently, the pipeline is in the process of restoring service, and Colonial stated that it would restore most service by the end of the week as the company works to utilize alternative routes to transport fuels. However, no word was given as to the severity of the attack on Colonial's operations and to what extent hackers had penetrated the company’s network.
DarkSide announced on Monday that their goal was to make money, and they did not intend to create problems for society. Nonetheless, the incident brings more attention to the future threats of cyberattacks and ransomware attacks, reigniting the conversation about investing in critical infrastructure to prevent similar incidents from happening again.