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A police officer stands guard inside the gate to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama, in 2016. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A major U.S. fuel pipeline running from Texas to New York has been taken offline by its operator because of a ransomware attack, Colonial Pipeline said Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant breach of critical infrastructure and comes on the heels of multiple other major cyberattacks on both U.S. companies and the federal government.

Colonial Pipeline, which carries 45% of the East Coast’s fuel supplies, shut down 5,500 miles of its pipeline in response to the attack, according to the New York Times.

  • The pipeline transports around 2.5 million barrels of refined gasoline, diesel fuel or jet fuel every day, supplying harbors and airports on the East Coast.

What they're saying: "On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack. We have since determined that this incident involves ransomware," the company said in a statement.

  • It did not say what was demanded or by whom.
  • "In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems," Colonial Pipeline added.
  • "Upon learning of the issue, a leading, third-party cybersecurity firm was engaged, and they have launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident, which is ongoing."
  • "We have contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies."

The Department of Energy said in a statement it is coordinating with Colonial Pipeline, the energy industry, states, and interagency partners in responding to the incident.

  • "DOE is also working closely with the energy sector coordinating councils and the energy information sharing and analysis centers, and is monitoring any potential impacts to energy supply," the department said.

Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's division on cybersecurity, said in a statement, "This underscores the threat that ransomware poses to organizations regardless of size or sector."

  • "We encourage every organization to take action to strengthen their cybersecurity posture to reduce their exposure to these types of threats.”

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a statement to Axios, "[There] should not be a price impact if it’s restarted in the next couple days, after that it could turn into one where prices go up. But by how much depends on if consumers panic and start buying gasoline."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information from Colonial Pipeline and U.S. officials.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
18 mins ago - Technology

Windows goes to 11

Screenshot: Axios

Microsoft on Thursday offered a first look at the next version of Windows, dubbed Windows 11, which is coming this holiday season. The new version changes both the look of the operating system as well as the underlying business model.

Why it matters: Windows has been steadily losing market share on the desktop, which has itself lost prominence to smartphones.

Pelosi announces select committee to investigate Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Nancy Pelosi speaking during a press conference on June 17. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that she will create a House select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The creation of a single Democratic-controlled special committee, which will consolidate several House investigations, comes after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have established a bipartisan 9/11-style commission.

U.S. Latinos earn less, die earlier in segregated areas

A rally in rally in Brooklyn, N.Y., protesting Latino segregation in October 2015. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. Latinos have a higher life expectancy and earn more yearly income when they live in racially mixed neighborhoods compared to areas that are predominantly Black or Latino, an analysis finds.

Why it matters: The study by the University of California Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute released this week shows the physical and economic toll on Latinos as cities become more segregated.