(AP) — The operator of the nation's largest gasoline pipeline, which was hit by a ransomware attack
earlier this week, announced Saturday that it has resumed "normal operations," delivering fuel to its markets, which include a large swath of the East Coast
, based in Georgia
, began resuming pipeline operations on Wednesday evening, warning that the supply chain could take several days to return to normal.
“Since that time, we have returned the system to normal operations, delivering millions of gallons per hour to the markets we serve,” Colonial Pipeline said in a tweet Saturday, naming Texas
, Louisiana, Mississippi
, Alabama, Tennessee
, Georgia, South and North Carolina
, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey
“All of these markets are now receiving product from our pipeline,” the company said, adding that its employees “worked safely and tirelessly around the clock to get our lines up and running.”
Gas shortages, which spread from the South and nearly emptying stations in Washington, D.C., have been improving since a peak on Thursday night, according to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
, who told The Associated Press
on Friday that the country is “over the hump” on gas shortages, with about 200 stations returning to service every hour.
“It will still work its way through the system over the next few days,” she said, adding that “we should be back to normal fairly soon.”
Multiple sources confirmed to The Associated Press that Colonial Pipeline paid the cybercriminals a ransom of nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency for the software decryption key needed to unscramble their data network.
According to Tom Robinson, co-founder of the cryptocurrency-tracking firm Elliptic, the ransom — 75 Bitcoin — was paid last Saturday, a day after the criminals locked up Colonial's corporate network. Two people
briefed on the case confirmed the payment amount to The Associated Press prior to Robinson's blog post.
The pipeline system supplies approximately 45% of the gasoline consumed on the East Coast.