Top US fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline shut its entire network, the source of nearly half of the US East Coast’s fuel supply, after a cyber attack on Friday that involved ransomware.

Iran PressAmerica: The incident is one of the most disruptive digital ransom operations ever reported and has drawn attention to how vulnerable US energy infrastructure is to hackers. A prolonged shutdown of the line would cause prices to spike at gasoline pumps ahead of peak summer driving season, a potential blow to US consumers and the economy.

Colonial transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, and other fuels through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines linking refiners on the Gulf Coast to the eastern and southern United States. It also serves some of the country's largest airports, including Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport, the world's busiest by passenger traffic.

The company said it shut down its operations after learning of a cyberattack on Friday using ransomware.

While the US government investigation is in its early stages, one former official and two industry sources said the hackers are likely a professional cybercriminal group.

US government bodies, including the FBI, said they were aware of the situation but did not yet have details of who was behind the attack.

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