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There Are Concerns Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack Could Lead To Higher Prices At The Pump

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The cyberattack that shut down a major pipeline which supplies much of our area with fuel, is raising concerns for the consumer and the country.

Days after the attack, which impacted a pipelines that supplies about 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, President Joe Biden spoke about federal efforts to take down ransomware criminals, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported.

"My administration will be pursuing a global effort of ransomware attacks by transnational criminals who often use global money laundering networks to carry them out," Biden said.

Colonial Pipeline Co. said it learned of the attack on Friday and quickly took systems offline to contain the threat, halting pipeline operations.

The FBI said in a statement the criminal gang Darkside is responsible, adding the agency "continues to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation."

"Which they've been investigating since October of last year. It's a ransomware as a service variant where critical affiliates conduct attacks and then share the proceeds with the ransomware developers," said Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies.

A ransomware attack is when hackers gain control of systems and demand payment in order for the owner to regain access.

Colonial runs pipelines from Houston, Texas to Linden, New Jersey, transporting more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil every day.

"The shutdown can mean rising costs to consumers at the gas pumps, along with increased costs for airlines, shipping companies and others. Shortages for retail fuel stations are possible if the pipeline remains offline for an extended period of time," Rep. Andrew Garbarino said.

Garbarino, the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure, was joined Monday at a news conference by John Catsimatidis, CEO of United Refining Company, which owns over 400 Tri-State Area gas stations. They said action needs to be taken to stop an apparent rise in such attacks.

"If they can shut down that pipeline, they can shut down banks. They can shut down our electricity and we have to beef up our ability to fight this," Catsimatidis said.

Meanwhile, at a Manhattan gas station CBS2 met a man gassing up his company's fleet.

"We want to be ready just in case, and as a backup have enough gas, just in case might be a gas shortage," Amaurys Fabian said.

That may not be necessary. Colonial Pipeline Co. said its goal is to have service substantially restored by the end of the week.

President Biden said the Department of Energy is working directly with Colonial to get the pipelines back online and operating at full capacity as quickly and safely as possible.

It's still unknown if Colonial Pipeline has paid any ransom money.

For more on Colonial Pipeline Co., please click here.

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