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Largest US fuel pipeline resumes operations after cyberattack forced it to shut down

It’s unclear if the company paid any ransom to the hackers who the Washington Post reported were believed “to be based in the former Soviet Union infiltrated servers and encrypted its data, demanding a fee to restore access.”

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The largest fuel pipeline company in the United States said they resumed operations Wednesday after a cyberattack forced the network to shut down for less than a week.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm first announced the news in a tweet after a phone call with the CEO of Colonial Pipeline, the company which hackers forced to shut down its computers last Friday.

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Despite no shortage of gasoline across the US, drivers were seen lining up at gas stations along the East Coast over fears that the truckers would not be able to deliver fuel from the refineries to the gas stations and states in need.

It’s unclear if the company paid any ransom to the hackers who the Washington Post reported were believed “to be based in the former Soviet Union infiltrated servers and encrypted its data, demanding a fee to restore access.”

But the pipeline operations started at around 5 PM EST, the company announced on its website.

“Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period,” the statement read. “Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal,” the company added.

Once gasoline is pumped through the pipeline, it is estimated to only travel at a speed of 5 miles per hour. This is one of the reasons the initial start-up period could be slow.

As a result of the latest cyberattack, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday to improve US cybersecurity and protect federal government networks. “Recent cybersecurity incidents such as SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange, and the Colonial Pipeline incident are a sobering reminder that US public and private sector entities increasingly face sophisticated malicious cyber activity from both nation-state actors and cybercriminals,” a statement from the White House read.

Read more: Fuel shortages in US worsen on sixth day of Colonial Pipeline outage

- Additional reporting from AP