Following a cyberattack, one of the major pipelines in the United States has ceased operations.
In a statement updated midday Saturday, the Colonial Pipeline Company said it had determined the incident involved ransomware — a type of cyberattack where malicious actors block access to data until a ransom is paid.
In response, the company took certain systems offline Friday to contain the threat, halting pipeline operations.
The New York Times reported on an earlier version of the statement that said the company had shut down 5,500 miles of pipeline, which, according to the company, carries 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supplies.
According to the corporation, the pipeline is the “largest refined products pipeline in the United States,” carrying more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily from Texas to New York.
According to the release, Colonial Pipeline has hired a third-party cybersecurity company and has approached law enforcement.
“At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation,” the statement said. “This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline.”
It is unclear who is to blame for the attack.
According to the New York Times, since energy consumption is down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the attack is unlikely to cause any immediate disturbances.