The FBI announced on Twitter Sunday that it is aware of a “network disruption” at the Colonial Pipeline, which is one of the country’s largest and transports fuel across the East Coast.
The agency said it became aware of the incident on Friday and agents are “working closely with the company and our government partners.”
Reports described the breach as a ransomware attack, which underscored the potential vulnerabilities of the country’s infrastructure to outside agitators. In December, officials announced a monthslong cyberespionage effort done largely through a hack of a widely used software from Texas-based SolarWinds Inc.
(The Biden administration issued new sanctions on Russians and their assets in response to the hack that involved more than 250 federal agencies and businesses compromised.)
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Colonial Pipeline attack forced the company to close its 5,500-mile gas line. The paper reported that there is no evidence of who is behind the attack. There are unconfirmed reports that the attack was carried out by a group of cybercriminals known as DarkSide.
“They’re very new but they’re very organized,” Lior Div, the CEO of Cybereason, a security firm, told ABC.Net.Au. “It looks like someone who’s been there, done that.”
The Journal, citing security officials, pointed out that the U.S. has about 2.5 million miles of pipelines and all are vulnerable to attacks. The attack is unlikely to affect gasoline supply and prices unless it leads to a prolonged shutdown of the pipeline, experts said.
Curtis Smith, a spokesman from Royal Dutch Shell, an owner of the Colonial Pipeline, told the Journal that it is still too early to be “specific about potential impacts to product flow.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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