- The cyber attack against a major US oil pipeline led to the declaration of an emergency in 17 states of the country
- According to the government, the attack was perpetrated by a group of ‘pirates’ called DarkSide
- Likewise, Biden lifted restrictions on the transportation of gasoline due to the closure of the oil pipeline
The Administration of President Joe Biden through the Department of Transportation issued a regional emergency declaration on Sunday, relaxing hours-of-service regulations for drivers transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products in 17 states and the District of Columbia following a cyber attack on a pipeline operated by Colonial Pipeline.
The cyber attack extortion attempt that forced the shutdown of a major U.S. oil pipeline was perpetrated by a criminal group known as DarkSide, which cultivates an image of Robin Hood stealing from big business and donating a percentage of the loot to charity, revealed on Sunday a person familiar with the investigation, reported Newsweek.
Cyber attack on pipeline generates emergency declaration in 17 states
Meanwhile, the shutdown was extended to a third day, and the government of President Joe Biden indicated that it is working with “all available resources” to restore operations and avoid interruptions in the supply of fuel, reported The Associated Press.
Experts say gasoline prices are unlikely to be affected if the pipeline returns to normal operation in the next few days, but that the incident – the worst cyberattack to date against vital American infrastructure – should serve as a wake-up call. to companies about the vulnerabilities they face.
Colonial Pipeline distributes almost 45% of gasoline to the east coast of the US
The pipeline, operated by Colonial Pipeline – a Georgia-based company – transports gasoline and other fuels from Texas to the northeast of the country. It delivers almost 45% of the gasoline consumed on the east coast, according to the company.
The company was affected by what Colonial described as a “ransomware” attack, in which hackers often encrypt information to block access to computer systems and demand a large ransom to free the network. The company has not disclosed the demands or who made them.
‘Cyber pirates’ have stolen millions
However, the person with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified those responsible as DarkSide. It is one of the “ransomware” groups that have “professionalized” a criminal sector that has caused tens of billions of dollars in losses to some Western countries in the last three years.
DarkSide ensures that it does not attack medical, educational or government targets, but only large companies, and that it donates a portion of the proceeds to charitable organizations. It has been active since August and, like the most powerful “ransomware” groups, is known for not attacking organizations in countries that used to belong to the Soviet bloc.
Pipeline cyberattack: Unknown if DarkSide has requested money
Colonial did not detail whether it had made a payment or negotiated a ransom, and DarkSide also did not announce the attack on its website or respond to requests from reporters from The Associated Press. The lack of details regarding the ransom is usually indicative that the victim is negotiating or has already made a payment.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that “ransomware” attacks are “what companies need to worry about now,” and that she will work “vigorously” with the Department of Homeland Security to address the problem, by which he described as one of the government’s top priorities.
Attacks have become frequent
“Unfortunately, these types of attacks are becoming more frequent,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We must work in partnership with businesses to make networks more secure in order to defend against these attacks.” Raimondo said that President Biden was informed about the attack.
“It’s a hands-on effort right now,” Raimondo said. “And we are working closely with the company, state and local officials to make sure they get back to normal operations as quickly as possible and there are no supply disruptions.”
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