The Colonial Pipeline began resuming operations Wednesday at approximately 5 p.m. ET, just days after it was forced to shut down due to a ransomware attack last Friday.
“The product distribution supply chain will take several days to return to normal following this restart,” a company spokesperson told in a statement. “During the start-up time, some markets served by Colonial Pipeline can experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions. Colonial will continue to transfer as much oil, diesel, and jet fuel as is safe before markets return to normal.”
The DarkSide ransomware was used in the attack, which resulted in states declaring states of emergency, temporary gas shortages triggered by frightened motorists stocking up on fear of gas shortages caused by the hack, and rising gas prices.
Darkside has been linked to Russia, but the hackers say they were just looking for a quick buck and deny any links to the Russian government. Although the Russian government has denied any involvement, US President Joe Biden has said that Moscow bears “some obligation to deal with this.”
The Colonial Pipeline, which runs between Houston, Texas, and Linden, New Jersey, is the country’s largest refined products pipeline, carrying more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily over a distance of more than 5,500 miles.
An outside audit of the Colonial Pipeline three years ago found “atrocious” information technology procedures and “a patchwork of poorly connected and secured networks,” according to a study published earlier today.
“Industrial environments are frequently operating with infrastructure that retains outdated hardware that can’t be patched, and workers that aren’t often as cyber-savvy as they need to be to keep attackers at bay,” Grant Geyer, Chief Product Officer at Claroty, told in response to the hack. “As a result, cyber security risk levels are below reasonable tolerances, and in some situations, companies are completely unaware of the threat.”
Colonial’s pipeline operations were restarted just minutes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order to improve US cybersecurity, according to the White House.