US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The hackers who attacked the pipeline delivering oil products to the US East Coast issued a statement. It says that they need money, and they are not interested in politics. Biden, contrary to his custom, does not yet suspect Russia. But it’s too early to rejoice: experts have established that the attack could have come from Eastern Europe. And the jump in US gasoline prices makes the cyberattack a big deal. Prices hit the people, preventing them from forgetting about the cyberattack, as was the case with many of the previous allegedly “Russian” attacks.
The cyberattack disrupted the operation of the largest fuel pipeline in the United States. This threatens with great trouble, since the number of cars on the roads is constantly growing due to the increase in the number of vaccinated people.
The cyberattack that shut down America’s most important fuel pipeline threatens to disrupt the supply of fuel to millions of consumers. The owner of the pipeline on Monday made an assumption that the restoration work will continue at least until the end of the week.
A new schedule for rebuilding the 9,000-kilometer Colonial Pipeline from Texas to New Jersey was announced after the FBI concluded that the attack involved the DarkSide cybercriminal gang with ties to Eastern Europe.
Colonial Pipeline on Monday said it hoped it would be able to almost completely restore fuel supply through the pipeline closed on Friday by the end of the week.
This pipeline transports about 45% of the fuel consumed on the US East Coast, as stated on the corporate website. Georgia-based company Alpharetta said it will take time to rebuild the grid in collaboration with the Department of Energy and other federal agencies. It is reported that the system recovery will be carried out in stages.
On Monday, the FBI said that the DarkSide group had created malicious code that had to shut down the Colonial Pipeline. This is a relatively new hacking group, and Western network security experts believe it is most likely based in Eastern Europe, possibly Russia.
On Monday, the hackers posted a statement online, stressing that they have one and only goal: to get money. The group denies having any ties with foreign states. The hackers did not mention the Colonial Pipeline or what ransom they demanded.
“We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics,” the hacker group said in a statement.
The Biden administration has declared a state of emergency and extended the working hours of drivers delivering fuel to 17 states, including those in the southeastern United States. These states are very dependent on the Colonial pipeline for consuming a significant portion of its supply.
President Biden said Monday that he is willing to take additional steps depending on the time it takes to get the pipeline back online. According to him, ransomware is becoming an increasingly serious problem, and this problem needs to be addressed on a global scale. He stressed that additional investment is needed in critical infrastructure that will protect key systems from destructive cyberattacks.
Biden and administration officials said the Russian state was unlikely to be involved in the attack. However, the president criticized Moscow for allowing criminal hackers to operate in Russia.
“So far, as our intelligence officers say, there is no evidence of Russian involvement,” Biden said. – Although there is evidence indicating that the criminal ransomware is located in Russia. They are responsible to a certain extent and must do it. “
Energy markets reacted to pipeline disruptions with sharp fluctuations. New York gasoline futures ended the day up 0.3%, after jumping 4.2% overnight. At the end of the day, gasoline cost $ 2.13 per gallon (approximately 56 cents per liter – approx. Transl.) However, analysts say that gasoline prices, especially negotiated with immediate payment, impacted by the shutdown of the pipeline, in the regions will continue to rise. if Colonial does not resume in the coming days.
Gasoline prices rose sharply, bringing the national average to $ 2 and 96 cents a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, the American Automobile Association reported. This national average could soon break the $ 3 ceiling and set a six-year record. In the hardest hit states, such as Mississippi, Tennessee, and the East Coast states from Georgia to Delaware, prices could rise 3-7 cents a gallon this week. This is the assessment of the automobile association.
Even stopping the pumping of fuel through the pipe for one week can lead to a significant reduction in fuel reserves. This will increase pressure on drivers refueling their cars at gas stations, and demand will grow in the coming weeks, as the number of cars on the roads increases due to the increase in the number of vaccinated cars. This was announced by Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at the investment firm Mizuho Securities USA.
“It’s still very significant,” he said. “It shows how volatile the situation is.”
“At the moment, every hour counts as Memorial Day, celebrated at the end of the month, is approaching,” he added.
Some consumers are preparing for further price increases, which could rise at the same time as prices for a wide variety of goods, from food to household appliances.
“Gas prices are so volatile that every additional factor makes the situation worse,” said Matt Jackson, 40, who drives 16 kilometers to and from the courthouse every working day.
Returning home from work on Monday night, Jackson noticed that a gallon of regular unleaded gas cost more than three dollars. He fears further price increases ahead of Memorial Day, which he has planned to travel to New Jersey.
“I’m starting to look at prices more and more closely,” Jackson said.
Southeastern states from Alabama to Maryland can experience intermittent power outages. They are also preparing for “panic purchases” of fuel. Of particular concern are the restrictions on fuel supplies to Tennessee, as the state is particularly dependent on a shutdown pipeline. This was announced by the head of the international energy analysis group Tom Kloza, who works in the Oil Price Information Service OPIS.
Gasoline futures prices skyrocketed in 2021, increasing by more than 50 percent.
“This is happening at the worst time ahead of summer and in the most vulnerable area,” said Michael Tran, managing director of global energy strategy at investment bank RBC Capital Markets. The East Coast is the least energy-secure region in the United States because it has very few refineries.
Traders are preparing to increase exports of European fuels to the United States. Deliveries from Europe have increased in the past after similar accidents. This was the case in 2016, when the Colonial Pipeline was shut down due to a fuel leak. Everyone will now be watching closely the weekly data released on Wednesday on US energy reserves, as well as on imports and exports, analysts said.
It may take several more days to restore the cybersecurity of the Colonial Pipeline, said Marc Ayala, director of industrial control systems security, of the consulting firm 1898 & Co., which is part of Burns & McDonnell in Houston.
“Given the large number of unknowns, the process of finding, containing, eliminating threats and restoring the system will take a long time. It is possible that the return to work will be carried out gradually,” explained Ayala.
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