Categories: News

Towards a fuel shortage in the United States?

In the United States, the situation is tense after the cyberattack suffered by the country’s major pipeline operator, which has raised fears of a gasoline shortage on the East Coast …

Since yesterday, in parts of the East Coast of the United States, motorists have been rushing into stations essence. They fear indeed a fuel shortage since a large-scale computer attack took place on a major pipeline network in the country.

Computer hacking involved

The computer attack took place last Friday on the group’s network Colonial Pipeline. According to the US federal police, the hacking was carried out by the criminal group Darkside: this group would have used a “ransomware”, or a Ransomware in French, which is quite simply a program that exploits security vulnerabilities in a computer network.

The latter encrypts the data present on the servers and demands a ransom to unlock them. In France, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, there have recently been the same types of attacks on hospital computer networks. At the time, the authors demanded a ransom to unlock the machines.

Across the Atlantic, this act of piracy therefore affected the largest pipeline operator for refined products in the country, which is at the origin of the transport of gasoline and diesel over almost 8,800 kilometers throughout the East Coast. The company thus transports nearly 45% of fuels consumed in this geographic area.

Dry gas stations

According to the site GasBuddy, specializing in monitoring gasoline prices, about 30% of stations were out of gas by the evening of May 11 around major cities in North Carolina, such as Raleigh and Charlotte.

Across the state, it is more than 10% of stations which were dry, according to the same source. In neighboring states, the situation was also tense in Virginia (8%), Georgia (6.9%) and South Carolina (4.7%).

According to the Minister of Energy Jennifer Granholm, there would be “no reason to stock up on fuel”, because it is a “supply problem, not a” shortage of gasoline “.

Despite this call for calm and according to a manager of an Exxon station in Raleigh, North Carolina, “ people watch the news and get scared« , « they fill gasoline cans … »

The Colonial Pipeline company is now working to restore service quickly, gradually reopening some distribution lines, and hopes to restore most of its activities “by the end of the week”. In the meantime, prices continue to climb …

Source: AFP

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