The attack that has halted the transit of multiple petrochemical products is believed to have been carried out by a hacker group known as Dark Side, unnamed sources told the Associated Press on Sunday.
Dark Side presents itself as Robin Hood-like band, claiming that the extorted money would partially go to charity. Hackers who reportedly avoid attacking medical, educational and government establishments, are believed to cause western corporations huge financial losses.
The 5,500-mile (8,850 km) Colonial Pipeline suspended operations on Friday evening after the cyberattack forced personnel to turn off “a number of systems to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
“On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack. In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems," Colonial Pipeline said in a statement.
Federal agencies and a private cybersecurity company are reportedly carrying out an investigation to identify the hackers behind the incident. The attack was reportedly performed with a ransomware virus that encrypts the contents of the attacked computers, ands demands a ransom to receive the decryption key.
The pipeline, which daily pumps 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, covers the needs of almost half of the East Coast. The incident is not yet believed to affect oil prices, but it has raised concerns over digital security, as the attack appeared to be the most massive yet on crucial US infrastructure facilities.