The Colonial Pipeline hack is becoming a mainstream problem because of current and anticipated fuel shortages, and the North Carolina governor has declared a state of emergency.
The 5,500 mile Colonial Pipeline was shut down Friday when the ransomware attack was launched, reportedly by Russian-based cybercriminal group DarkSide.
The Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline said it carries a whopping 45% of fuel consumed by Northeast U.S. states.
Debnil Chowdhury at the research firm IHSMarkit said in a Fox story that if the disruption runs more than a week, Americans would see a gasoline price hike.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, if this ends up being an outage of that magnitude, if we see 15- to 20-cent rise in gas prices over next week or two,” he said.
The company called this a ransomware attack (computer systems are locked via encrypting data), in which a healthy ransom is sought.
At least 12 other companies were also affected by the attack, Bloomberg reported.
The FBI has confirmed that DarkSide is responsible, but Colonial Pipelie has not said what was demanded.
On Monday evening motorists reported shortages at gas stations.
At least two stations in Tallahassee, Fla., were out of stock, according to Bloomberg.
Patrick de Haan, who runs Gas Buddy Tracker, said his sources showed 5 percent of stations in Virginia running empty.
“Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and prices increases as early as this week,” Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for Triple-A, said in a Daily Mail story.
The story also reported Atlanta motorists’ difficulties with finding fuel.
“Gas stations around Atlanta are running out of gas and the ones that have it are hiking up the prices,” said one man.
Fortunately, it appeared as though service was slowly being restored on Monday.