WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he anticipates good news “in the next 24 hours” on the ongoing Colonial Pipeline cyber attack that has disabled fuel deliveries up and down the East Coast in recent days.
“We have been in very, very close contact with Colonial Pipeline, which is the one area you’re talking about — one of the reasons gasoline prices are going up,” Biden said at an event Wednesday afternoon.
“I think you’re going to hear some good news in next 24 hours. And I think we’ll be getting that under control.”
The remarks came as Americans in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic faced fuel shortages at the pump starting late Monday, which showed little sign of abating by Wednesday afternoon. Panic buying in some states was exacerbating the supply chain issues.
“I have in the meantime made it easier for us to have lifted some of the restrictions on the transportation of fuel, as well as access to the United States military providing fuel, and with vehicles to get it there, places where it’s badly needed,” said Biden.
The latest moves by the Biden administration represent what the White House says is a whole-of-government mobilization to respond to the crisis, which began when Colonial informed the government on Friday that it had been the target of a ransomware attack.
The administration said Tuesday it would direct a “comprehensive federal response” aimed at restoring and securing U.S. energy supply chains.
The assault forced the company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline, leading to a disruption of nearly half of the nation’s East Coast fuel supply.
The attack on Colonial Pipeline has been traced back to a hacker group called the DarkSide, an organized group of hackers set up along the “ransomware as a service” business model. This means the DarkSide hackers develop and market ransomware hacking tools, and sell them to other criminals who then carry out attacks.
Questions around key details also remain, such as whether Colonial has paid the ransom that hackers typically demand in these scenarios.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday refused to answer specific questions about precisely how Colonial and the Biden administration are collaborating on resolving the attack.
CNBC’s Eamon Javers contributed reporting.
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