Cyberattack forces closure of largest US refined-fuel pipeline

The Colonial Pipeline, the main conduit carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to the U.S. East Coast, said it had halted all operations after being hit with a cyberattack.

Colonial Pipeline Co. — which operates the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline system taking fuel from the refineries of the Gulf Coast up to the New York metro area — said it learned Friday that it was the victim of the attack and “took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations.”

The outage isn’t expected to have a significant impact on fuel markets unless the pipeline remains shut down for several days, analysts said.

The cyberattack on Colonial appeared to involve ransomware, a type of code that attempts to seize computer systems and demand payment from the victim to have them unlocked, according to a person familiar with the matter. The investigation was in its early stages, the person said.

The company said it had engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to help with the issue, which affected some of its IT systems, and had contacted federal agencies and law enforcement.

FireEye Inc ., a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, is investigating the attack, according to people familiar with the matter. A FireEye spokesman declined to comment.