The FBI confirmed Monday that a professional gang of hackers known as “DarkSide” is behind the cyberattack that shut down a critical US fuel pipeline and sent gas prices spiking — as its operator warned that the ongoing outage was “approaching critical levels.”
In a prepared statement, the bureau said its probe showed “that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks.”
“We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation,” the FBI added.
The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline — which carries about 45 percent of all the fuel for America’s East Coast — entered its fourth day on Monday, raising concerns that local suppliers could run out of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
The national gas price average jumped six cents to $2.96 on the week, according to the American Automobile Association.
The pipeline’s operator, IHT Markit, said Monday that it hoped to have service restored by the end of the week after restarting smaller lines in the network that runs through 10 states between Texas and New Jersey, but warned that prices will rise otherwise, according to the Associated Press.
“The time of the outage is now approaching critical levels and if it continues to remain down we do expect an increase in East Coast gasoline and diesel prices,” IHS Markit executive director Debnil Chowdhury said.
DarkSide is known to extort cash from corporations and give a cut to charity, the Associated Press reported Saturday, citing sources familiar with the federal investigation.