The words “cyberattack,” and “fuel pipeline” mentioned alone are at the very least troubling, but when they are used in the same sentence it’s frightening.
The main conduit that carries gasoline and diesel fuel to East Coast of the United States told the world they had to shut down all operations after being hit by a cyberattack.
Colonial Pipeline Co., said it learned on Friday that they were victims of an attack, which forced to to shut down all of their pipeline operations as they figured things out.
Colonial operates an elaborate pipeline system that is 5,500 miles long.
Initial signs according reports indicate it was a cyberattack that involved ransomware, where the crooks that launch the attack try to seize the computer system and demand ransom payments to have it unlocked.
It’s a nightmare scenario for any company, even more so for a company in charge of part of the nation’s fuel supply, and Colonial said they had engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to help them get out of the mess.
FireEye Inc. is the company investigating the cyberattack according to reports.
As for the U.S. Government, they are on it too, as the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are working with FireEye.
Here’s the million dollar question; Was Russia, China, or Iran involved? No word on that yet, as sometimes it can take months to figure out who’s behind it. Fox News quoted a cybersecurity expert and former NSA official who said it looks to him like the attack was “extremely sophisticated.”
“These systems shouldn’t be connected to the Internet, making it very difficult for an outsider to gain control of them. This pipeline shutdown sends the message that core elements of our national infrastructure continue to be vulnerable to cyberattack.”