Around a week ago, Colonial Pipeline was taken offline as the result of a major cyberattack. The pipeline delivered nearly half of the fuel supplies to the eastern part of the US, and though the public was reassured that the system would be back online soon, many people panicked anyway. Now, only days later, the pipeline is back to normal operations.
The cyberattack was conducted by a group called DarkSide, which oddly enough, apologized for the chaos that resulted from its ransomware. The group said that it is ‘apolitical’ and that its goal was simply to ‘make money and not creating [sic] problems for society.’ The group also vowed to review future targets in order to ‘avoid social consequences in the future.’
Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid $5 million in ransom to the group and announced that it had begun restarting its operations late on May 12. Despite this, many places along the US East Coast — as well as parts of other states, oddly enough — have seen panic buying and gas hoarding, including a number of reported incidents resulting from the use of improper containers like plastic bags and tubs.
The panic buying fueled a gas shortage in many places, which remains today in some cities. The issue should level out in the near future, however, with Colonial Pipeline stating in a tweet on Friday that it is back to normal operations.
The company says that it has already delivered ‘millions of gallons per hour’ of gasoline to its markets. For this reason, anyone considering stocking up on fuel should reconsider — not only are approved fuel containers pricey, but gasoline is risky to store in significant quantities and has a relatively short shelf life.