The energy crisis surrounding Europe worsened as Germany's fuel-supply network was hit with a cyberattack on Jan. 29. The incident follows mounting tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine and the possibility Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany could be axed if Russia invades Kyiv.
The US has insisted it would block the pipeline opening upon a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Western governments and their corporate media counterparts aren't helping the situation as they drum up the prospects for conflict between Russia and the US. This week, it just so happened a cyberattack partially paralyzed Germany's most critical fuel network as the geopolitical turmoil worsened in the region.
S&P Global Platts reports the attack targeted energy company Mabanaft Group and storage company Oiltanking Group. Disruptions to some oil products in Germany, Europe's biggest oil consumer, are being reported.
Oiltanking declared force majeure at eleven terminals in Germany and was operating at "limited capacity."
"All parties continue to work to restore operations to normal in all our terminals as soon as possible," both companies said in a joint press release.
Traders told S&P Global Platts the cyberattack might last for upwards of two weeks as the companies are expected to "just pay off the blackmailers."
The head of Germany's IT security system called the incident serious "but not grave."
Bloomberg reports the entirety of the damage is not yet known but serves as a reminder of how cybercriminals have been attacking critical infrastructure networks in recent years. A similar incident occurred last May when hackers forced the US' largest fuel pipeline network, owned by Colonial Pipeline Co., down, forcing it to pay millions in ransomware. The disruption resulted in shortages and price spikes at gas stations across the US's Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast parts.
"All parties continue to work to restore operations to normal in all our terminals as soon as possible," Mabanaft said. There was no communication from the company on when the cyber attack would be resolved.
"Given the potential fragility of the fuel supply chain -- as highlighted by recent shortages in the UK -- disruptive cyber attacks can cause widespread disruption for consumers and businesses," Huntsman Security Head of Product Management Piers Wilson said.
"With luck the attack on Oiltanking won't see widespread disruption in Germany, but it must be seen as a wake-up call to organizations that still are not 100% confident in their own and their partners' cyber defenses," Wilson said.
The cyberattack on Germany's oil network comes as the US and its European allies are readying sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine. Further, Germany is experiencing an energy crisis as it phases out fossil fuel power plants and nuclear ones for unreliable renewables.
So far, the Russians have yet to be blamed for the cyberattack.