WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The FBI has determined that a Russian cyber gang dubbed “DarkSide” is the culprit behind a massive cyber ransom attack at the nation’s largest pipeline.
Colonial Pipeline, based in Texas, supplies nearly half the east coast’s gasoline and jet fuel.
Officials involved in the investigation say DarkSide invaded Colonial’s networks and took 100 gigabytes of data in a few hours.
At a press conference Monday, President Joe Biden said that so far, the FBI has indicated there has been no connection found between DarkSide and the Russian government. But Biden still suggested the Russian government should bear some responsibility.
He said he’ll be speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin soon.
The attack was not an isolated event, but part of a pattern that’s played out for years. Biden is pledging to take action, announcing that his administration is taking a series of steps to protect the nation’s infrastructure.
He says the FBI is taking steps to hold criminal hackers responsible, and that he is planning to sign an executive order in coming days to strengthen the nation’s cyber defense infrastructure.
“It’s a criminal act,” Biden said. “We have efforts underway with the FBI and the DOJ, Department of Justice, to disrupt and prosecute ransomware criminals.”
The pipeline, which transports 2.5 million barrels each day, remains shut down.
Biden says he’s loosening restrictions on truck drivers to allow more fuel to be transported, to ensure consumers are not impacted at the pump,
“Right now there are no supply disruptions,” said Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, homeland security advisor.
The White House insists that for now, gasoline prices should remain steady. But consumer experts warn that, if the shutdown is prolonged, prices could shoot up.
“If it’s just a few days then the impact will be minimal. However, if it extends to a longer period of time then we could see gas price increases in certain regions of the country,” said Doug Shupe with AAA.
Shupe says states in the south east or east coast are more vulnerable.
“Drivers in those states in those regions could see prices increase 3 to 7 cents as early as the week,” Shupe said.
Colonial Pipeline says it’s working with the energy department to resume some portion of its pipeline, with the goal of resuming substantial operation service by the end of the week.