| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Cyber attack shuts down the largest fuel pipeline system in the United States

The largest fuel pipeline system in the United States has been forced to shut down its entire network following a cyberattack, the operator said in a statement.

The Colonel Pipeline ships gasoline and jet fuel from the Texas Gulf Coast to the country’s east coast via pipelines measuring 5,500 miles (8,850 km) serving 50 million consumers.

The operating company said in a statement that it had fallen “the victim of a cyber piracy attack” on Friday, which prompted it to shut down its systems.

It added that this “temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems.”

The company did not give details of the repercussions of the attack, but it is not believed that it caused any immediate disturbances.

Colonel Pipeline, headquartered in Georgia, is the largest pipeline in the United States by volume, carrying 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products daily.

The operator said it had hired a cybersecurity company to investigate the attack and informed federal law enforcement authorities.

And in the United States in recent months, there have been reports of two major cybersecurity hacks, the massive SolarWinds hack that has damaged thousands of government and private sector computer networks and has been officially blamed for Russia, and a potentially destructive breach of Microsoft’s e-mail servers.

This latest attack is believed to have affected at least 30,000 American organizations, including local governments, and it has been attributed to a Chinese cyber espionage campaign.

Both hacks appear to be aimed at stealing emails and data, but they have also created “back doors” that could allow attacks on physical infrastructure, according to The New York Times.