Colonial Pipeline, a 5,500-mile pipeline running between Linden, NJ and Houston, TX, connecting refineries on the Gulf Coast with markets in the Southern and Eastern, which transports 2.5 million barrels of jet fuel, gasoline and other refined products a day, was closed after a cyberattack made Friday. It announced Saturday a pausing on operations. “At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation,” Colonial said in a statement. The Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined-products pipeline in the U.S. The company said it had engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to help with the issue. It also had contacted federal agencies and law enforcement. The incident appeared to be a significant attempt to disrupt vulnerable energy infrastructure which carries 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supplies.
Earlier Friday, there were disruptions along the pipeline, but it was unclear whether that was a direct result of the attack. With energy use depressed by the pandemic, the attack was unlikely to cause any immediate major disruptions. The F.B.I. leads such investigations, but critical infrastructure is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The breach comes just months after two major attacks on American computer networks : the SolarWinds intrusion by Russia’s main intelligence service, and another against a Microsoft email service that has been attributed to Chinese hackers.