East Coast Oil Pipeline, RPI and Cyber Attacks or Cyber War

East Coast Oil Pipeline, RPI and Cyber Attacks or Cyber War

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United States – The United States may be under unprecedent cyber attacks. Perhaps one can dare say there is a Cyber War going on. This past weekend alone there was at least two major cyber attacks, the worst which caused 45% of the East Coast oil pipelines to shutdown. The second attack hit Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which is one of the world’s most renowned engineering school located in Troy, New York.


The cyber attack that took out the fuel lines occurred on Friday and was of a type of ransomware to Colonial Pipeline. The utility is responsible for supplying 2.5 million barrels per day, or 45% of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel served in the East Coast.

Colonial Pipeline Pelham Junction and Tank Farm

The emergency caused the United States’ government to scramble on Saturday to make a temporary waiver on the amount of oil that can be transported via trucking to help meet demand. Essentially, drivers in 18 states that transport refine oil products may work flexible and extra hours.


As of Sunday, Colonial Pipeline confirmed that 4 of their main pipelines remained offline, although they had been able to bring back online several lateral lines between terminals and delivery points.

Fear in the futures market speculate that if full service is not brought back by Tuesday there will be supply shortage that will affect Tennessee and Atlanta, and eventually New York.

Law enforcement has been working with the utility around the clock. They were able to limit and isolate the attack and identify the attacker. The attack was performed by DarkSide who are a cyber gang suspected to be located out of Russia. The group has been know not to attack any of the countries that previously comprised the Soviet Union.

The cyber attack on Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) also occurred on Friday and caused much of their networks to shutdown. The university is also working along side law enforcement attempting to mitigate the issue and resolve what has been identified as a malware attack.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) world renowned engineering school.

The situation has prompted RPI to cancel all exams, papers and projects that were due on Monday, as students entered the semester’s finals.

Message on rpi.edu website after the cyber attack: Limited access to the Rensselaer network has impacted final exams, research, and other academic activities. All final exams and submissions (e.g., term papers, project reports) scheduled or due on Monday (May 10th) and Tuesday (May 11th) are cancelled. Information about exams scheduled for Wednesday (May 12th) will be forthcoming.

Very little information has been disclosed by Rensselaer as to the nature of the cyber attack, but it is safe to say that any attack on an institution such as RPI should be considered a very critical attack on the Nation. Universities such as RPI are in the forefront of U.S. technological advancement. Such a breech can threaten intellectual property, patents and designs that touch anything from biomedical to military applications.

These recent attacks come in the backs of last year’s attack on SolarWinds, the Pentagon and early this year on a Florida water system among others. The increase of technology in our lives have made us both more dependent and vulnerable to the potential consequences of cyber attacks to the point that it can topple anything from financial markets to the utilities and infrastructure that run society.

These attacks also heightens the need to become more self reliant as a Nation when it comes to technology. Even hardware can be manufactured to leave back doors to malicious actors. We are in an era that wars can now be waged with 1’s and 0’s.