President Joe Biden on Thursday warned gas stations not to artificially raise prices as a temporary shortage occurs due to a major pipeline hack.
“Don’t take advantage, and I repeat, don’t take advantage of consumers right now,” Biden declared at the White House. “No one should be unduly profiting from this situation. That’s what hackers do. That’s how they are, we’re not like that ”, he added.
The pipeline operated by the Colonial Pipeline company was temporarily shut down due to the invasion of its cyber networks, but it resumed operations on Wednesday. The event presented a challenge to the Biden presidency, already faced with a pandemic, an economic recession, an increase in migrant children on the southern border, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and international events that could lead to war.
The government understands that the situation carries a series of political and economic risks: the images of cars waiting at gas stations could hinder Biden’s political agenda and even put Democratic control of Congress at risk.
Biden expressed hope that the pipeline will resume normal operations by next week and emphasized the importance of improving the country’s infrastructure, mentioning the plan that he proposed in this regard with a public expenditure of 2.3 billion dollars. He assured that his government will take measures to prevent future hacks, but did not disclose whether the Colonial company paid a ransom.
“We do not believe that the Russian government was involved in this attack, but we do have strong reasons to believe that the criminals who carried out the attack live in Russia,” said the president.
“In addition, we will take steps to hamper their ability to operate, and our Justice Department has created a special team dedicated to bringing those who engage in ransomware to justice,” he added.
The government detailed this week all the steps it will implement to resupply gas stations in the affected areas. Authorities intervened after hackers seeking a ransom shut down the pipeline on Friday, which delivers about 45% of the fuel to the east coast of the United States. The situation unleashed shortage problems and an increase in prices, which the government was preparing to address.
Hours after pipeline service resumed, Biden issued an executive order to improve the country’s cybersecurity.