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A cyberattack forced a temporary shut down of the largest US fuel pipeline, which carries nearly half the fuel consumed by the East Coast

Colonial Pipeline

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Colonial Pipeline, the largest US refined fuel pipeline operator, has shut down operations because of a cyberattack, the company said.

After learning it was "the victim of a cybersecurity attack," the pipeline operator on Friday took certain systems offline, temporarily halting pipeline operations and certain IT systems. It also hired an outside cybersecurity firm that is investigating the severity of the breach, the company said in a statement. 

"At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation," the statement said.

Federal authorities and law enforcement have also been contacted, according to Colonial.

The company is the country's largest refined products pipeline operator, transporting more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil daily through a pipeline system that spans 5,500 miles from Houston, Texas to the New York area. 

Colonial pipelines transport approximately 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to its website. 

Colonial did not say how long it expects its operations to be shut down.

Gasoline futures gained 0.6% on Friday.

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