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Notícias Internacionais / 12/05/2021


Attack on fuel duct presses prices and depletes US stocks

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Attack on fuel duct presses prices and depletes US stocks

The ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline pipeline on Friday (7) already threatens gasoline and aviation fuel supplies for much of the east coast of the United States and puts pressure on the market amid reduced inventories, reported “The Washington Post ”, this Monday (10).

The system was blocked for two days and should remain unstable until next Sunday (16). In practice, ransomware operates as a “hijacking”: when it invades a system, the malware blocks access and charges a ransom to restore it.

Although common, the ease with which the attack unbalanced the U.S. fuel supply chain caught the attention of the authorities. Last year alone, nearly 2,400 American organizations were victims of these operations, pointed out The New York Times.

The scheme profits when companies agree to pay to regain control of the systems. "Downtime can cost millions," said Robert Lee, head of Dragos, a cybersecurity company.

Washington signaled concern about the apparent vulnerability of American systems. In December, the United States had the accounts of several government agencies hacked by hackers, who acted unscathed for weeks through the SolarWinds government system. The invasion was attributed to Russia.

The spate of attacks in recent months has already prompted officials to warn of a possible relationship between the criminal group and foreign intelligence agencies and agencies that aim to disrupt or damage strategic infrastructure in the United States.

In the most recent ransomware case, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations, in English) attributed the coup to the criminal gang DarkSide, based in Eastern Europe. Federal agents and private security companies, however, are still investigating the case.

Links abroad

The DarkSide group is said to be behind several ransomware attacks on companies and utilities. In February, criminals interrupted the operations of two state-owned electricity companies in Brazil, Eletrobras and Copel (Companhia Paranaense de Energia).

Although there is still no apparent link to foreign governments, the US government warns of a possible relationship with Russia. Experts point out that the group operates outside the country and always targets Moscow's enemies while avoiding targeting Russian victims.

In April, Washington imposed several sanctions on Moscow after the attacks on SolarWinds - a factor that brought the relationship between the two countries to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. The Kremlin denies involvement.

Until this Sunday (9), the effect of ransomware on fuel prices in the USA was small. On Friday, prices increased by $ 0.06 per gallon, which costs an average of $ 3. If the system remains unstable, prices may vary by region.

While areas of Alabama and Maryland may be in short supply, midwestern states and Ohio could benefit cheaper shipments Gulf refineries by diverting supplies retained by mills.

Altogether, the Colonial Pipeline pipelines cover more than 5,500 kilometers the Gulf coast to the south and east of the USA. The company transports 45% of the fuel consumed on the east coast, which serves about 50 million Americans.

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