Colonial Pipeline Is Back, But Something Happened to the Hackers Who It Shut Down...Is It True?

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Posted: May 16, 2021 7:45 PM
Colonial Pipeline Is Back, But Something Happened to the Hackers Who It Shut Down...Is It True?

Source: Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News via AP

Panic started to infest parts of the United States. Gas lines were forming. Gas stations ran out of fuel. Videos of people filling plastic bags and storage bins with gasoline were captured. That’s also super unsafe. The gas panic of 2021 has begun. Blessedly, it only lasted a couple days. Over the weekend, Colonial Pipeline was hit by a cyber-attack. The 5,500-mile pipeline which supplies fuel to 45 percent of the eastern United States was shut down. Officials said they hoped to get it back online by the end of this week, but certainty was far from an assurance here. There were warnings that if the shutdown lingered, Alabama all the way north through Baltimore could experience fuel shortages. Panic buying ensued.  

Colonial paid the ransom, which amounted to around $4-5 million and operations resumed last Wednesday, but the attack showed how vulnerable our nation is to cyberattacks and the crippling impact a $4 million ransom could potentially inflict on the country. That’s a discussion I’m sure Congress will have, especially since the hackers appear to have been operating in Russia. Given how Russophobic Democrats have become over the past few years, prepare the investigations. For now, Colonial says all areas that need gas should have it soon. They’re fully operational (via Fox Business):

Gas delivered via Colonial Pipeline Co.’s system is reaching consumers in all the states it serves following a days-long network shutdown, the company announced Saturday.

Markets including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were all receiving fuel from Colonial Pipeline after its system returned to normal, according to the company.

Colonial restarted its pipeline system, which stretches from Houston to New Jersey, Wednesday afternoon after a ransomware attack forced the company to temporarily shut down the week before. 

[…]

The pipeline carries 100 million gallons of fuel daily and accounts for 45% of the fuel used on the East Coast. The shutdown caused gas shortages in areas served by Colonial and prices reportedly hit as high as $6.99 per gallon in Virginia this week.

Colonial reiterated its commitment to safety and keeping its system running in the future. The company said it has spent $1.1 billion on "system integrity and preventative maintenance" in the past five years and increased IT and cybersecurity spending by 50% since appointing a new chief information officer in 2017.

Yeah, maybe they should have spent more. On the other side of this, it appears the hackers have lost control of their servers and access to the ransom money, but we’ll see about that. Like the liberal media never trust what they say (via NY Post):

Cybercrime group DarkSide said it has lost control of its web servers and some of the money it’s made off ransom payments after the FBI confirmed that the gang was behind the $5 million ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline last week that spurred gas shortages and panic buying across the Southeast.

Analysts at security research firm FireEye said that messages are circulating in multiple cybercriminal forums that say DarkSide has shut down amid pressure from the US and law enforcement.

“A few hours ago, we lost access to the public part of our infrastructure, namely: Blog. Payment server. DOS servers,” read a post online by user Darksupp, the operator of DarkSide, according to The Record. 

The announcement was posted Thursday evening on cybercrime underground community Exploit Forum, according to Recorded Future threat intelligence analyst Dmitry Smilyanets. 

It remains unclear if the announcement is a ruse for the group to escape attention or avoid paying its partners. Cybersecurity analysts warned that anything posted by DarkSide operators should be taken with a grain of salt.

Gas hit $7/gallon in Virginia. At the start of the panic, there were reports of gas stations running out of fuel in Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. That's what set it off. It's all over now...or is it?