Ransomware Attack That Shut Down Major US Pipeline May Be Linked to Online Criminal Gang

A ransomware attack forced a shutdown of a major American gas pipeline, the worst cyberattack on critical infrastructure to date, the Associated Press reports.

Colonial Pipeline, a Georgia-based company that carries 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, was hit with a ransomware attack on Friday.

The company has not said who is responsible or what demand was made but said it is working to restore its computer systems and working with law enforcement and federal agencies.

"We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations," the company said in a statement.

Linked to online criminal gang:

Two sources close to the investigation told the Associated Press that the attack was carried out by a ransomware criminal gang called DarkSide.

DarkSide, which has been active since August, has been linked to Russia and has been known to avoid targeting organizations in former Soviet nations. It claims that it doesn’t attack hospitals, nursing homes, or educational and government targets and that it donates a portion of its ransoms to charity.

The report noted that similar gangs have “professionalized” the ransomware gang, costing Western nations tens of billions in the past three years.

“All-hands-on-deck effort”:

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the attack highlights "what businesses now have to worry about" but said she is “very vigorously” working with the Department of Homeland Security to address the issue.

"Unfortunately, these sorts of attacks are becoming more frequent," she told CBS News. "We have to work in partnership with business to secure networks to defend ourselves against these attacks."

"It's an all-hands-on-deck effort right now," she said, "and we are working closely with the company, state and local officials to make sure that they get back up to normal operations as quickly as possible and there aren't disruptions in supply."

The Transportation Department issued a regional emergency declaration on Sunday to boost fuel supplies to the East Coast.


Related News