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May 10, 2021 2:54:14 PM by Lauren Mangano

Colonial Pipeline Cyber Attack - What will Happen?

Oil prices may be on the rise again due to a sudden ransomware attack that forced a critical fuel pipeline to shutdown.
Heating oil prices rose over one percent on Monday after a cyber attack on Saturday, May 8th forced the Colonial Pipeline to shutdown. Colonial is one of the biggest U.S. fuel pipeline operators, and carries almost half of the gasoline and other fuels used on the East Coast. The company had to shut all its pipelines on Friday due to the ransomware attack.
Ransomware Cyberattack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline
This type of attack can be used to block a victim’s data and essentially hold the information hostage until a ransom is paid. In the initial response to the attack, the company quickly "took certain systems offline to contain the threat," according to a statement.
The sudden shutdown of 5,500 miles of pipeline sparks major concern, especially if there is a prolonged shutdown, which could drive oil prices even higher.
This could effect prices at the pump, too. The national average gas price is already up 60 percent from a year ago, and the pipeline attack is just another possible source of increasing prices. 
U.S. gasoline prices have already jumped nearly two percent, while heating oil is up more than one percent.
In the statement posted on Colonial Pipeline's website, the company said that it's going to implement a phased return to service. "The plan is based on...the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week," it said.
While the market is expected to remain fairly calm, the situation may become "critical" if flow through the pipelines is not restored by the end of the week, according to Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Resources.
Colonial Pipeline is working to safely and efficiently to restore service, while the Justice Department continues to make its new ransomware task force a priority to prevent future cyber attacks.

This entry was posted in Energy, Fuel Oil

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