Panic buying underway as hacking group claims responsibility for Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Alpharetta, Georgia - The May 7 cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline serving the majority of the eastern seaboard has been pinned by the FBI on the malware developing group Darkside.

Gas station with no gas in Arlington, Virginia as a result of a cyber attack that took one of the largest pipelines in the nation offline.
Gas station with no gas in Arlington, Virginia as a result of a cyber attack that took one of the largest pipelines in the nation offline.  © imago/Xinhua

"The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks," the agency has shared.

"We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation."

Darkside has claimed responsibility and also offered a bit of context for the attack:

"We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for our motives," the statement said. "Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society. From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future."

According to CNBC, Darkside is also claiming that they will donate a portion of their "profits" to charity.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday urged Americans not to hoard gasoline as services should be up and running in a few days, despite the cyber attack.

So far 17 states have declared a "State of Emergency"

Colonia Pipeline facility in Baltimore, Maryland.
Colonia Pipeline facility in Baltimore, Maryland.  © imago/Xinhua

As people continued to panic-buy gasoline, 17 state governors have been forced to declare a state of emergency to be eligible for federal aid and invoke emergency powers.

Colonial Pipeline assured customers that the system will be restored soon, but end-consumers used to dealing with hurricanes and other natural disasters in the Gulf region do what they do best: go into prepping mode.

Danielle Leota, who just moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama from Alaska took to Facebook to share the odd situation unfolding all around her. "Sooo we are currently going through a gas outage where I live. There is no gas for miles around because of panic buying... but here's the kicker...where I live has its own Chevron refinery an hour away and isn't affected by the closure at all."

Leota continued: "But of course, just like the toilet paper, people flocked. Luckily I had to fill up anyway just hours before the crazy hit, but I feel bad for all the tourists coming down and won't be able to fill up. Hope you brought a bike!"

The Colonial Pipeline connects refineries along the Gulf Coast and in other locations with customers in the Southern and Eastern United States.

The system spans more than 5,500 miles and carries upward of 100 million gallons of fuel per day. The company says it is the largest refined products pipeline in the country.

Cover photo: imago/Xinhua

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