Colonial Pipeline update: Full system will be back online when company believes it is safe after cyberattack

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The Colonial Pipeline Company shared an update on Sunday afternoon following a cyberattack on Saturday, saying the full system will be back online when they believe it is safe.

The full statement is provided below:

“On May 7, Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack and has since determined that the incident involved ransomware. Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.

Leading, third-party cybersecurity experts were also immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response.

Maintaining the operational security of our pipeline, in addition to safely bringing our systems back online, remain our highest priorities. Over the past 48 hours, Colonial Pipeline personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.

The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan. While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.

At this time, our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience and outpouring of support we have received from others throughout the industry.”

Colonial Pipeline provides thousands of gallons of gasoline and jet fuel to major airports including Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Airline companies could feel the impact most from the ransomware attack. Meanwhile, some drivers at the pump said the price of gas is already too high.

Sydney Graham is one of several people filling up their tank concerned that prices at the pump may go up.

“The prices are too high,” Graham said. “I am working two jobs out here just trying to support myself, pay gas, ride around in my car, it’s hard.”

Prices could increase as Colonial Pipeline works to regain full control of its network. The company closed the 5,500 hundred mile pipe that runs through 12 states including North Carolina. It transfers around 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.

“I hope that they can come to an agreeance and get their stuff together because the prices are too high,” Graham said.

Experts said if the pipeline is not up and running in the next 24 hours that’s when we could start to see a 10, 20, or even 30 cent increase in gas prices.

Drivers like Lyla Wise said it’s already hard paying the price of gas right now during COVID. She used to pay $20 to fill up now it’s close to $50.

“It’s just like a dread to get gas, it’s been dreadful,” Wise said.

In a statement, the company said: “We proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our it systems. Upon learning of the issue, a leading, third-party cybersecurity firm was engaged, and they have already launched an investigation.”

Meanwhile, drivers already feeling the heat at the pump hope they won’t have to dig deeper into their pockets.

“Each cent makes a difference,” Graham said. “Whether it’s one penny to 10 cents, it makes a difference because it’s taking money out of people’s pockets that are already struggling right now.”

Right now, regular gas at the pump is around $2.79 a gallon in Charlotte. It’s only gone up a penny within the last 24 hours.

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