Pipeline Cybersecurity Attack

A Murphy Oil gas station shows no gas on pumps, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Kennesaw, Ga. Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, halted operations last week after revealing a cyberattack that it said had affected some of its systems.

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(The Center Square) — Despite the nation’s largest pipeline being back up and running following a cyber attack last week, more than 15,600 gas stations are still without gas as of Thursday.

Colonial Pipeline was left unable to transport fuel from Texas to states along the eastern seaboard for nearly a week as a result of the attack, causing long lines at many gas stations.

More than 15,600 gas stations reported being out of gas Thursday in Florida, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi, according to data published by GasBuddy.

GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan reported as of 12 p.m. CST on Thursday that gas shortages ranged from zero in Texas and Louisiana to 74% in Washington, D.C.

The district's gas shortage increased to 87% by Friday morning.

Other reported shortages were in Alabama (9%), Delaware (4%), Florida (30%), Georgia (48%), Kentucky (3%), Maryland (42% as of Friday), Mississippi (7%), North Carolina (68%), New Jersey (1%), South Carolina (52%), Tennessee (33%), Virginia (52%), and West Virginia (6%).

De Haan said the GasBuddy app is “struggling under the weight of record traffic to the site. If you need fuel and the app isn't working, please try https://tracker.gasbuddy.com.”

Colonial Pipeline began an initial restart of its 5,500 mile-plus pipeline on Thursday, warning it could take several days for operations to return to normal.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the company’s restart went well, adding, “This should mean things will return to normal by the end of the weekend.”

Tom Kloza, founder of the Oil Price Information Service, said Colonial’s restart “means that the deluge of rain is over, but the ‘river crest’ of station outages probably arrives tomorrow or Friday.”

“Friday is always the busiest day for purchasing gasoline,” he tweeted.

De Haan suggested that residents living in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, may not see gas supplies return to normal for another two weeks.

A bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill Wednesday to send money to state and local governments to strengthen their computer security systems from potential cyber attacks.

The State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act would help fund state and local government projects to address and strengthen cybersecurity vulnerabilities, including encouraging them to increase cybersecurity funding and develop strategies to address potential threats.

President Joe Biden also signed an executive order calling on the federal government “to bear the full scope of its authorities and resources to protect and secure its computer systems, whether they are cloud-based, on-premises, or hybrid” and to work with private companies to protect their systems.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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