Everything You Need To Know About The Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack


You’ve probably heard about the cyberattack on a major pipeline that transpired just a few days ago. Now gas prices are on the rise and even some local gas stations are completely out of stock.

What happened, and who is to blame?

On Friday, May 7th, the Colonial Pipeline, the biggest US gasoline pipeline that stretches across the east coast, was shut down after a hacking group invaded their systems and implemented ransomware, a type of malware that disables systems until demands are met. As a result, southeastern states like North Carolina are struggling to keep up with the panic-buying of gasoline and many gas stations are shutting down, while more unaffected states, like Texas, are delivering aid.

The FBI confirmed that the group behind this cyberattack is DarkSide, a relatively new ransomware group that operates in Russia. The group brands itself with Robin Hood-like justifications, as they claim that they take from the rich and give a cut back to charities, although some charities have been reported to reject their donations, once they learned they were obtained from ransoms. In a statement on Monday, the group effectively apologized for their actions, stating that they just wanted profit and didn’t expect the US to not meet their demands, resulting in a crippling of the east coast. While they have not offered to reverse the damage they caused, DarkSide announced that they will deeply assess the consequences of their actions in future attacks.

North Carolina and the rest of the southeastern states are suffering the most, as the Colonial Pipeline is the main source of gas for the majority of these states. More than 70% of North Carolina’s gas comes from the Colonial Pipeline, so the effects of the attack have already been felt in the Raleigh area. Panic buying has only made matters worse, causing many gas stations across the state to already be out of stock before we even feel the direct effects of the shortage. On Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency to ensure that aid will be sent to our state. “Today’s emergency declaration will help North Carolina prepare for any potential motor vehicle fuel supply interruptions across the state and ensure motorists are able to have access to fuel,” said the Governor.

This widespread shortage of gas is now beginning to affect other industries, such as the flight industry. On Tuesday, American Airlines announced that they will be adding stops to two long-range flights out of Charlotte so they can sufficiently refuel in other states that have been affected less harshly by the shutdown.

Since we are just now feeling the impact of the shutdown from swift panic buying and the looming shortage that should hit in the next few days, gas will become more expensive whenever it’s available, meaning that it will become crucial to conserve gas until  the pipeline is back online. Here are things you can do to make the most out of your gas: 

  • Combine short trips; starting a warm engine takes less fuel than a cold one.
  • Try to drive at moderate speeds.
  • Reduce weight in your car by removing any unnecessary objects from it.
  • Avoid idling.
  • Ask friends or neighbors to share rides.