Why will it take a WEEK to fix the Colonial Pipeline? America's biggest fuel pipeline is still days away from resuming full operations after falling victim to DarkSide cyberattack

 Colonial Pipeline says it is still days away from resuming full operations after falling victim to a cyberattack as questions being to mount over why it is taking an entire week to get the nation's biggest fuel pipeline back in action. 

Gas prices have already spiked to a seven-year high and reports of gas shortages and panic buying are emerging up and down the East Coast with motorists lining up from Florida to Virginia for fuel.

But as the shutdown nears its sixth day, it is still unclear why it is taking so long for Colonial to return to business as usual after insisting it would try to 'substantially' restore operations by the end of the week.

Colonial, which delivers about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, announced last Friday it had halted operations after becoming the victim of a ransomware attack that it said had affected some of its systems.

Ever since abruptly shutting the 5,500 mile pipeline that runs from Texas to New Jersey, Colonial has only managed to restore some services and has given the vague timeline of when things will be back up and running. 

Colonial Pipeline said it was working to 'substantially' resume operations by the end of this week but reports of gas shortages are already emerging up and down the East Coast as motorists were spotted lining up in Atlanta on Tuesday morning

Colonial Pipeline said it was working to 'substantially' resume operations by the end of this week but reports of gas shortages are already emerging up and down the East Coast as motorists were spotted lining up in Atlanta on Tuesday morning

The cyberattack carried out by Russian ransomware hackers that shut down Colonial Pipeline, America's largest fuel pipeline, has left the operator and the US government scrambling to restart the network to avoid fuel shortages and price hikes

The cyberattack carried out by Russian ransomware hackers that shut down Colonial Pipeline, America's largest fuel pipeline, has left the operator and the US government scrambling to restart the network to avoid fuel shortages and price hikes 

The timing of when its systems could be restored may be weighed down by multiple factors, including whether Colonial paid the ransom and, if so, when it was given the decryption key that could unscramble it.

Ransomware attacks are typically carried out by criminal hackers who scramble data and paralyze victim networks before demanding large payments to decrypt it. 

Cyber experts say the process of decrypting can take several days.

Colonial has refused to say whether it has paid or is negotiating a ransom after the FBI confirmed DarkSide, a Russian hacking outfit made up of ransomware veterans, was responsible for the attack. 

How extensively its systems were infected would also affect how quickly Colonial can restore them.  

Colonial has only said the hack affected its IT systems and not those that actually control the pipeline. 

Sources previously told Bloomberg that hackers stole nearly 100 gigabytes of data out of Colonial's network on Thursday before demanding a ransom.  

Analysts at Third Bridge have said the pipeline utilizes both common and custom technology systems, which could complicate efforts to bring the entire network back online. 

A government map shows a mishmash of pipelines, petroleum ports and petroleum refineries. The Southeastern area now under biggest stress shows little in the way of pipelines or refineries, whereas the Gulf area, the Northeast and the Midwest are well-covered, so aren't as at-risk from fuel shortages at the moment

A government map shows a mishmash of pipelines, petroleum ports and petroleum refineries. The Southeastern area now under biggest stress shows little in the way of pipelines or refineries, whereas the Gulf area, the Northeast and the Midwest are well-covered, so aren't as at-risk from fuel shortages at the moment

In a statement released on Monday, Colonial said it took some systems offline on May 7 in a bid to contain the threat after first learning of the cybersecurity attack.

Taking those systems offline resulted in temporarily halting all pipeline operations and affected Colonial's IT system.

Colonial said it is currently 'in the process of restoring' its IT systems and was evaluating the product inventory in storage tanks at its facilities. 

Biden administration officials have said that Colonial proactively took some of its systems offline to prevent the ransomware from migrating from business computer systems to those that control and operate the pipeline. 

'The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan,' a Colonial spokesperson said on Monday. 

'While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. 

The national average for retail gasoline prices was at $2.985 as of Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association. The last time the average gas prices were above $2.99 was back in November 2014

The national average for retail gasoline prices was at $2.985 as of Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association. The last time the average gas prices were above $2.99 was back in November 2014

As the shutdown nears its sixth day, it is still unclear why it is taking so long for Colonial to return to business as usual after insisting it would try to 'substantially' restore operations by the end of the week

As the shutdown nears its sixth day, it is still unclear why it is taking so long for Colonial to return to business as usual after insisting it would try to 'substantially' restore operations by the end of the week

'We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.'  

The mounting questions over when the system will be restored comes as fuel distributors and refiners say Colonial has left them in the dark about what it to come. 

One Maryland fuel distributor warned there would be 'catastrophic' shortages in the coming days given Colonial has only managed to restore some services in the wake of the hack. 

Sources told Bloomberg News that hackers stole nearly 100 gigabytes of data out of Colonial's network on Thursday before demanding a ransom. Colonial, which is based in Georgia, has not yet said whether it has paid or is negotiating a ransom with the hackers

Sources told Bloomberg News that hackers stole nearly 100 gigabytes of data out of Colonial's network on Thursday before demanding a ransom. Colonial, which is based in Georgia, has not yet said whether it has paid or is negotiating a ransom with the hackers

'It's going to be catastrophic,' John Patrick, chief operating officer of Liberty Petroleum LLC, told Bloomberg

'Governors should declare a state of emergency and ask people chasing tanker trucks to gas stations to stay home. School buses stay put.' 

DarkSide is believed to be based out of Russia and made up of veteran cybercriminals. In a statement (above) following the Colonial attack, the group denied being political and said their only goal was to 'make money'

DarkSide is believed to be based out of Russia and made up of veteran cybercriminals. In a statement (above) following the Colonial attack, the group denied being political and said their only goal was to 'make money'

Fears of a looming shortage have already prompted panic buying with gas stations in various cities already running out of fuel or restricting sales. 

Motorists were also lining for hours across Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. 

And gas prices have now spiked to a seven-year high. 

The national average for retail gasoline prices was at $2.985 as of Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association. The last time the average gas prices were above $2.99 was back in November 2014. 

The AAA had already warned that gasoline prices could spike three to seven cents per gallon this week and said that there also could be 'limited fuel availability' in places. 

'This shutdown will have implications on both gasoline supply and price, but the impact will vary regionally,' an AAA spokesperson said. 

'Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and prices increases as early as this week.

'These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week.'  

DarkSide finds vulnerabilities in a network, gains access to administrator accounts and then harvests data from the victim's server and encrypts it. The software leaves a ransom note text file with demands (pictured above)

DarkSide finds vulnerabilities in a network, gains access to administrator accounts and then harvests data from the victim's server and encrypts it. The software leaves a ransom note text file with demands (pictured above)

Why will it take a WEEK to fix the Colonial Pipeline? America's biggest fuel pipeline is still days away from resuming full operations after falling victim to DarkSide cyberattack Why will it take a WEEK to fix the Colonial Pipeline? America's biggest fuel pipeline is still days away from resuming full operations after falling victim to DarkSide cyberattack Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:55 Rating: 5

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