Fuel tanks at a Capital plant in Woodbine (Maryland), this Saturday.JIM LO SCALZO / EFE
Colonial, the largest pipeline network in the United States, has been forced to suspend its activities after having suffered a cyber attack whose authorship and scope are unknown, the company said in a statement.
The stoppage affects Colonial's operations in the 8,850 kilometers of oil pipelines it manages, vital to supply the large population centers of the eastern and southern United States, including the New York metropolitan region, where 380 million liters arrive up to date.
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The company transports up to 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel per day from Gulf of Mexico refineries around Houston, Texas, to large cities in the eastern half of the country.
Capital's energy supply is especially important on the east coast of the country, as it represents 45% of fuel transportation in that area.
Capital, which has not specified how long the pipeline network will be closed, has hired a cybersecurity company "first rate" to investigate the event, in addition to alerting the security forces of the US Government "and other federal agencies" , the firm has explained in a statement.
The cyber attack was detected this Friday and was known shortly before midnight yesterday.
"Our priority objective is to reestablish our services safely and efficiently so that they can function normally again," said the Capital statement.
The cyber attack comes shortly before President Joe Biden signs, in the coming days, an executive order to increase cybersecurity in critical infrastructure for the United States economy. According to
The New York Times newspaper
, the presidential decree could demand an increase in security requirements for those companies that provide services to the federal government.
Washington has long viewed with concern the possibility that countries such as China and Russia could use cyberattacks against basic infrastructures to hit the economy, and at the same time undermine the credibility of the world's leading superpower.
The latest example is the massive cyber-hacking known as SolarWinds, which compromised thousands of US government computer networks and pushed the White House to adopt tough sanctions against Russia, to whom it blamed the attack.
Tangentially related to the risk of cyberattacks to the economic waterline, the colossal infrastructure plan presented by Biden, and pending approval in Congress, seeks to remedy the obsolescence of some of them, especially those most vital to the functioning of the economy. .
The last time that Capital's pipeline network was affected by a stoppage was during Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. The active fight against climate change and against the worsening of natural phenomena such as hurricanes that derived from global warming encourages is another of the factors that Biden has used when defending the aforementioned infrastructure plan, and in his first federal budget proposal.