Gasoline is reportedly flowing through the Colonial Pipeline again following a cyber-attack that forced its closure, leading to gas shortages along the pipeline’s route from New Jersey to Texas.
Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday that “it has begun a restart of its operations” and that gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel began flowing through the pipeline again around 5 pm EST. It will still be several days before product delivery returns to normal, the company said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.
“Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal,” the company added, according to The Hill.
As the Daily Wire reported, a “cyber attack forced the closure of the 5,500-mile pipeline, which moves more than 100 million gallons of fuel from Texas to New Jersey every day — nearly 50% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast.” The closure caused gas shortages and skyrocketing fuel prices across the east coast and into the southeast, largely because of panic buying.
“On Wednesday afternoon, 65 percent of gas stations in North Carolina, 44 percent of stations in Virginia, and 43 percent of stations in both Georgia and South Carolina were out of fuel, according to the gas price website GasBuddy,” The Hill noted. “Other states are reporting fewer shortfalls, with 16 percent of stations in Tennessee, 11 percent of stations in Florida and Maryland, and 7 percent of stations in Alabama saying they were dry.” In some places, gas prices jumped to a seven-year high.
Wednesday morning, Colonial Pipeline was still struggling to return its pipeline to service, and had “only managed to restore some services and has given the vague timeline of when things will be back up and running,” according to a report from the Daily Mail, which noted that it was not clear why Colonial was having trouble restoring flow.
The Biden administration had, at one point, suggested that Colonial Pipeline pay a ransom to the cyberattackers, but Wednesday afternoon, the president admitted that the White House had been in contact with Colonial and was working on the problem, according to USA Today.
The hacker group DarkSide took responsibility for the shutdown on Monday; the FBI later confirmed that DarkSide was, indeed, responsible for compromising Colonial Pipeline’s networks, according to the BBC.
“Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society,” the group said in a statement on its website, adding that it was an “apolitical” group.
The United States government, however, reportedly remains concerned that Russia had a hand in the attack.
“A number of cyber-security researchers, including firms contacted by the BBC, have speculated that the cyber-criminal gang could be Russian, as their software avoids encrypting any computer systems where the language is set as Russian,” the BBC reported Monday. “Mr. Biden said that the US government was concerned about this aspect of the cyber-attack.”
“I’m gonna be meeting with President Putin and so far there is no evidence, based on our intelligence people, that Russia is involved,” Biden added in a news conference Monday. “Although, there’s evidence that the actors’ ransomware is in Russia – they have some responsibility to deal with this.”
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