Washington, May 13 (EFE).- President Joe Biden confirmed Thursday that the cyberattack that put the largest US fuel pipeline network offline for several days originated in Russia, although he said that the Kremlin was not involved.
In remarks to reporters at the White House, the president emphasized that there is strong evidence – as reported by the FBI – that the cyberpirates “live in Russia.”
“I am confident that I’ve read the report of the FBI accurately, and they say (Russian Presidend Vladimir Putin) was not (involved),” Biden said, adding that “We do not believe the Russian government itself was involved.”
He emphasized that the government has been in “direct communication” with Moscow to get it to take action against the hackers, adding that he intends to speak with Putin about the need to act against cyberattacks.
Biden said that his administration was working to try and create an international standard whereby governments who know of criminal activities in their territory take action against the perpetrators.
The president said that the US Department of Justice had created a working group devoted to pursuing the hackers who used “ransomware” – a program that blocks access to computers unless the targeted firm, organization or government department pays to have them unblocked – to shut down the Colonial Pipeline network.
The FBI accused a group of cyberpirates known as Darkside, based in Eastern Europe, of carrying out the ransomware attack on Colonial last Friday, causing the interruption of fuel deliveries across a huge swath of the southeastern US for several days.
On Wednesday, Colonial announced that it was resuming operations although it warned the public that it will be several days before the flow of fuel will be back to normal.
Biden said that the government expects the situation to return to normal within the next seven days.
“It’s going to take some time, and there may be some hiccups along the way,” Biden said. “We should see a region-by-region return to normalcy by this weekend.”
In the meantime, he said, “Don’t panic. I know seeing lines at the pumps or gas stations with no gas can be extremely stressful. But this is a temporary situation. Do not get more gas than you need in the next few days. Panic buying will only slow the process.”
Biden also warned gas stations, saying: “Do not, I repeat, do not try to take advantage of consumers during this time. Nobody should be using this situation for financial gain. That’s what the hackers are trying to do. That’s what they’re about. Not us.”
Colonial said Thursday in a statement that work to get the fuel flow back to normal is moving forward and that by about midday all markets it serves would be receiving supply.
The Colonial Pipeline network includes some 5,500 miles of pipeline that supplies 45 percent of the gasoline, diesel fuel and aviation fuel consumed in the eastern US, transporting up to 2.5 million barrels of various fuels from refineries along the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast each day.