Cyberattack shuts down major East Coast fuel pipeline

MCLEAN, Va. (NBC) – A crippling cyberattack has completely shut down a major U.S. pipeline that delivers fuel to nearly half of the East Coast. Officials say they may have a lead on the criminals behind the hack. Meanwhile, motorists are left wondering if or when this will cause prices to jump at the pump.

Pump prices are being very, very closely, so far with no dramatic increase. But that could change at any hour, any day.

The longer that pipeline, run by Colonial Pipeline, is shut down, the greater the chances that gas prices will start to move up.

The pipeline is responsible for 2.5 million barrels of jet fuel, diesel fuel, and regular gasoline every single day, moving from Texas all the way up into New York and every state in between. 45% of East Coast fuel moves through the pipeline, shut down since Friday because of a ransomware attack.

Security experts and NBC News sources believe that this is a work of a sophisticated Russian criminal enterprise called “Dark Side” and that they are demanding a ransom be paid before they unfreeze the pipeline, so we don’t know how long it’s going to take to get the pipeline reopened.

Colonial Pipeline says it’s working around the clock and the government says it is all hands on deck.

Multiple agencies working to not only help Colonial get the fuel moving again on the East Coast but also tracking down more of who is responsible and trying to take their operations offline.

It is, in the words of cybersecurity experts, a new front, a very terrifying new front and how cybercriminals can literally take the infrastructure and critical infrastructure off-line in the United States.

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