You can stop panic buying gasoline now.
Colonial Pipeline, which operates over 5,500 miles of fuel pipeline running from New Jersey to Texas, announced Wednesday that it “initiated the restart of pipeline operations.” The move follows the company’s decision late last week to proactively shut down operations after its systems were infected with ransomware.
The criminal group DarkSide is reportedly connected to the ransomware in question — a type of malware which encrypts a victim’s computer and demands payment in exchange for a decryption key — which Colonial says forced it to shut down its systems.
On Monday, as the White House officially commented on the ongoing Colonial Pipeline debacle, DarkSide released a statement saying this entire thing had gotten way out of hand.
“Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society,” read the statement in part. “From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”
As noted cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs writes, DarkSide operates a “ransomware-as-a-service” business. Essentially, the group created a ransomware platform that other would-be extortionists can use — sharing any profits in the process.
The group’s website (yes, DarkSide has an official website) lists the scores of companies it claims to have successfully infected — along with leaks of the data it stole from the companies DarkSide says refused to pay up.
It’s worth emphasizing that Colonial Pipeline took its pipeline operations offline on its own accord. CNN reports that, according to multiple people familiar with the matter, the pipeline controls themselves were not hit by ransomware. Instead, the outlet reports that it was the company’s billing system which was affected.
“As we initiate our return to service, our primary focus remains safety,” continues the company’s Wednesday statement.
Colonial Pipeline’s customers can now rest easy knowing that, going forward, their bills will be safely delivered along with their fuel.