Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack
Posted May 8, 2021
- The operator of a major pipeline system that transports fuel across the East Coast said Saturday it had been victimized by a ransomware attack and had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat. The attack is unlikely to affect gasoline supply and prices unless it leads to a prolonged shutdown of the pipeline, experts said.
- The attack on the company, which says it delivers roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, underscores again the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure to damaging cyberattacks that threaten to impede operations.
- The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed Saturday morning and the federal government was working with the company to assess the implications of the attack, restore operations and avoid disruptions to the supply.
- An outage of one day or two would be minimal, he said, but an outage of five or six days could cause shortages and price hikes, particularly in an area stretching from central Alabama to the Washington, D.C., region.
- Average ransoms paid in the United States jumped nearly threefold to more than $310,000 last year. The average downtime for victims of ransomware attacks is 21 days, according to the firm Coveware, which helps victims respond.
– ALAN SUDERMAN and ERIC TUCKER | May 8, 2021