WASHINGTON — The operator of a major pipeline system that transports fuel across the East Coast said Saturday it had been victimized by a ransomware attack and had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat.
The attack is unlikely to affect gasoline supply and prices unless it leads to a prolonged shutdown of the pipeline, experts said.
Colonial Pipeline did not say what was demanded or who made the demand. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out by criminal hackers who seize data and demand a large payment in order to release it.
The attack on the company, which says it delivers roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, underscores again the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure to damaging cyberattacks that threaten to impede operations. It presents a new challenge for an administration still dealing with its response to major hacks from months ago, including a massive breach of government agencies and corporations for which the U.S. sanctioned Russia last month.
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In this case, Colonial Pipeline said the ransomware attack Friday affected some of its information technology systems and that the company moved “proactively” to take certain systems offline, halting pipeline operations. In an earlier statement, it said it was “taking steps to understand and resolve this issue” with an eye toward returning to normal operations.
The Alpharetta, Georgia-based…