Colonial Pipeline, one of America’s largest gas pipelines, has been shut down after they suffered a massive cyberattack by a gang of criminal hackers last week. The aftershocks of the pipeline shutdown are being felt by consumers across the East Coast.
In South Carolina, this video was taken of a gas station that’s run out of gas. According to WSOC9 reporter Greg Suskin, the gas station in the video isn’t the only gas station in the area delivering bad news to customers. “People here told me they’d been to other stations and found the same,” he tweeted, saying, “This is crazy.”
This is crazy. I stopped for gas just now having no idea what was happening. It’s out. People here told me they’d been to other stations and found the same. pic.twitter.com/7LDVdUXPo4
— Greg Suskin (@GSuskinWSOC9) May 11, 2021
WLOS reporter Caitlyn Penter is reporting that a Robbinsville, NC gas station is also out of gas. The clerk told her that it would be five days before the filling station has gas again.
Penter tweeted a second image showing long lines at the gas station across the street that has not yet run out of gas.
— Caitlyn Penter (@CaitlynWLOS) May 10, 2021
This tweet by John Cardillo nailed it…Only 100 days in office and here we are…
Cheap gas to quarter mile long gas lines in 100 days.
You’re a disgrace if you voted for Joe Biden.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) May 11, 2021
The New York Times is reporting that a criminal gang of hackers called DarkSide, have now been formally blamed by the F.B.I. for a huge ransomware attack that has disrupted the flow of nearly half of the gasoline and jet fuel supplies to the East Coast.
The F.B.I., clearly concerned that the ransomware effort could spread, issued an emergency alert to electric utilities, gas suppliers and other pipeline operators to be on the lookout for code like the kind that locked up Colonial Pipelines, a private firm that controls the major pipeline carrying gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from the Texas Gulf Coast to New York Harbor.
The pipeline remained offline for a fourth day on Monday as a pre-emptive measure to keep the malware that infected the company’s computer networks from spreading to the control systems that run the pipeline. So far, the effects on gasoline and other energy supplies seem minimal, and Colonial said it hoped to have the pipeline running again by the end of this week.
The attack prompted emergency meetings at the White House all through the weekend, as officials tried to understand whether the episode was purely a criminal act — intended to lock up Colonial’s computer networks unless it paid a large ransom — or was the work of Russia or another state that was using the criminal group covertly.
So far, intelligence officials said, all of the indications are that it was simply an act of extortion by the group, which first began to deploy such ransomware last August and is believed to operate from Eastern Europe, possibly Russia. There was some evidence, even in the group’s own statements on Monday, that suggested the group had intended simply to extort money from the company, and was surprised that it ended up cutting off the main gasoline and jet fuel supplies for the Eastern Seaboard.
The attack exposed the remarkable vulnerability of a key conduit for energy in the United States as hackers become more brazen in taking on critical infrastructure, like electric grids, pipelines, hospitals and water treatment facilities. The city governments of Atlanta and New Orleans, and, in recent weeks, the Washington, D.C., Police Department, have also been hit.
A preliminary investigation showed poor security practices at Colonial Pipeline, according to federal and private officials familiar with the inquiry. The lapses, they said, most likely made the act of breaking into and locking up the company’s systems fairly easy.