President Joe Biden & FBI Weigh in on Cyber Hacking Impacting New Jersey Energy Pipeline

Diane Lilli

The East Coast Colonial Pipeline went offline Friday, stopping 2.25 million barrels that supply diesel, petrol, and jet fuel from states from Texas to New Jersey. This cyberattack is the largest US energy breach in history.

The cyber breach impacted 45 percent of the East Coast's fuel, and now the FBI confirmed the identity of the cybercriminals. Simultaneously, President Joe Biden loosened the pipeline transmission regulations to help the states impacted by the cyberattack, such as New Jersey, receive critical energy supplies.

“The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks,” said a statement issued by the bureau. “We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation.”

The cyber hackers "DarkSide" released a statement saying they didn't mean to hurt anyone, but are instead looking to make money and not disrupt millions of Americans due to a shutdown of pipelines.

"Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society," DarkSide said in a message on their website.

Cybersecurity firm Cybereason reports  Darkside has victimized more than forty organizations, each time demanding between $200,000 - $2 million in ransom.

In a statement released on Saturday, Colonial Pipeline wrote, "Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government's response."

Over the past year, hackers have successfully cyber attacked numerous organizations, including hospitals, entire US municipal systems in cities such as Atlanta, law enforcement databases, and even branches of the federal government. 

Cyber attacks are escalating rapidly, with government officials worried about attacks by foreign states against the US infrastructure.

In the first six months of 2020, RiskBased reported 36 billion data breaches, resulting in hacked records.

Between January 2005 and May 2020, another study reports there were 11,762 reported data breaches. Due to a unique state legislature that imposes different fines and rules for businesses, and the fear of being seen in a negative light by the public, many firms may not report their cyber breaches

Verizon reports 86 percent of 2020 data breaches were focused on financial profit, while 10 percent of cyber hacks were for espionage, including government and business data theft.

Statistics show data breaches of private company records were stolen in 36 billion cases, just from May through June 2020.

Colonial Pipeline reported they took their systems offline on Friday after the cyber-attack and restored service.