Refined petroleum trading higher after ransomware attack shuts down crucial US Colonial pipeline

The US government issued emergency legislation on Sunday after a ransomware attack forced the shutdown of the crucial US Colonial pipeline, which supplies almost half of total East Coast consumption of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

The emergency status relaxes rules on fuel being transported by road. It means drivers in 18 states can work extra or more flexible hours when transporting refined petroleum products.

Sources suggest the attack was caused when Colonial's network was infiltrated on Thursday and almost 100GB of data was taken hostage. After seizing the data, the hackers locked the data on some computers and servers, demanding a ransom on Friday.

Jake Moore, cyber security specialist at ESET: “Purchasing ransomware is now far easier than ever and attempts on critical national industrial infrastructure, as well as businesses, are increasing at an alarming rate. As a result, many are struggling to keep up with the tsunami of attacks.

“These attacks leave organisations in a complex quandary, with multiple questions to answer – including whether or not to pay the ransom – all up against the clock. Failure to comply with the demands could potentially leave them with a huge loss of data, unable to function and/or see some of the stolen data spilt on the internet. However, paying the ransom is no guarantee that the data will ever be restored back to its original state. There is also the bitter taste left behind in the aftermath as to how it happened, as well as the immediate costs of preparing for inevitable repeat attempts.

“Preventative measures make far better security choices: it is always better to patch and protect rather than to pay. However, this can be easier said than done due to the persistence of these threat actors. Organisations of all sizes must ensure they have robust controls in place that protect their email and spam filters, as well as use multi factor authentication and increase user awareness training.”

The recent ransomware attack on the US fuel pipeline is another reminder of the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure.

Refined product prices this morning are trading higher, with concerns about the ongoing impact should the situation persist.

    Share Story:

Recent Stories


Financial institutions were early adopters of cyber security and insurance. Are they still on top of the game?
Managing huge amounts of sensitive data online makes financial institutions a prime target for hackers. As such, the sector was an early cohort for insurers in creating cyber cover. Since then, the market has evolved almost beyond recognition. It continues to challenge itself to this day, complying with rigorous regulatory demands and implementing avant-garde enhancements to keep abreast of the ever-changing risks. Published June 2021

Manufacturing: An industry at risk amid great technological change
Of the many sectors of business, manufacturing companies are among the most at risk from cyber threats. How has the sector evolved to make it so vulnerable and what does the task of managing cyber exposure in a manufacturing company look like? CIR’s latest podcast with Tokio Marine HCC sought to answer all these questions and more. Published April 2021

Advertisement