Colonial opens the pipeline

A hacker attack on an important pipeline on the American east coast caused a shortage of fuel. Now the gasoline is flowing again. The reason should be a ransom payment.

State of emergency: A truck brings the much-needed gasoline to a gas station in Alexandria, Virginia.

Dhe most important gasoline pipeline on the American east coast is open again. This has been announced by the operating company Colonial Pipeline. The company shut down the pipeline system after it became the victim of a hacker attack. A ransomware program from a gang of alleged Eastern European cyber criminals had been smuggled into the company’s IT system and had encrypted huge amounts of data there.

According to the Bloomberg news agency, Colonial paid the extortionists a ransom of five million dollars in cryptocurrency to decrypt the data. Neither the company nor security groups wanted to confirm the report. However, Bloomberg relies on two sources.

Employee opened phishing email

The White House security advisor, Anne Neuberger, had already indicated the possibility of a payment and showed understanding for the delicate situation of the company. Colonial had closed the pipeline system, on which almost half of the gasoline supply of the east coast depends, as a precautionary measure. At many gas stations in the east coast states there was temporarily no fuel, at others long queues formed.

Unconfirmed indications show how the malware got into the company’s IT system. An employee apparently opened an email with the title: “More like CANSas City,” which showed a picture of a busty beauty in a bikini in the red and white jersey colors of the Kansas City Chiefs football team. The user was promised more photos that would be visible if he clicked on the attached link. That apparently happened. The method is called phishing and is a common method that hackers use to gain access.