A critical US fuel pipeline has been shut down after a cyber security attack on Friday, in an incident that underscores the vulnerabilities in America’s critical infrastructure.
The Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined products pipeline in the US, was taken offline after its operator said late on Friday it had fallen “victim to a cyber security 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,” the Colonial Pipeline Company said. It added that it had contracted a third-party cyber security firm to investigate the incident, and contacted law enforcement and federal agencies.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US energy department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The attack comes amid growing concerns about cyber security vulnerabilities in America’s critical infrastructure after last year’s SolarWinds attack, in which Russian hackers gained access to the US commerce and Treasury departments, among other government agencies.
Colonial Pipeline did not say how long the suspension of operations would last, or provide further details about the nature of the attack.
The Colonial pipeline transports more than 100m gallons of fuel daily, feeding markets such as Atlanta, Washington and New York with fuel refined on the Gulf of Mexico coast, according to the company.
The pipeline shut down much of its network in 2017 after tropical storm Harvey. Part of the conduit was also taken offline in 2016 after a leak was discovered.
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