Colonial Pipeline’s Computer Network Temporarily Goes Dark

Fuel holding tanks are seen at Colonial Pipeline's Dorsey Junction Station on May 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo by Drew Angerer. Getty.

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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The Colonial Pipeline’s computer network that enables oil refiners and clients to reserve space and observe the status of fuel traveling through the pipeline experienced an outage Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

A Colonial Pipeline storage site in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 12, 2021. Photo by Logan Cyrus. Getty.

Although fuel shipments quickly proceeded as normal, Colonial Pipeline executives tried to quell any concerns about another gas shortage like the one that occurred in throughout the U.S. Southeast in May, Bloomberg reported. Colonial Pipeline paid about $5 million to DarkSide, the Eastern European hacker group that attacked their operations on May 7 and closed 5,500 miles of pipeline, according to Bloomberg.

DarkSide’s business model is “ransomware as service,” meaning they develop the hacking tools and sell them to other cybercrime groups, according to CNBC.

Colonial said the most recent network outage was “not related to the ransomware or any type of reinfection,” according to Bloomberg News. (RELATED: Cyber Experts Warn Pipeline Hack Could Be Just The Beginning)

The May 18 outage made it difficult for fuel distributors to make shipments to their locations, Andy Milton, senior vice president of supply at Mansfield energy Corp., told Bloomberg News.

“Without that system, it’s very difficult to divert barrels manually,” Milton told Bloomberg News. “Let’s say Charlotte becomes very tight and maybe we can divert barrels from Greensboro to Charlotte to help fill up in the market… If it’s not done quickly, those barrels may go right on past Charlotte and continue on towards Greensboro.”