Oil prices rebounded on Friday after a midweek selloff. Neither the bullish nor bearish narratives took hold at the on Friday, and Brent crude traded in the upper-$60s.
It rebounded on Friday morning as inflation fears fade and the global supply glut slowly drains, although the IEA did revise its demand projection downward.
The IEA said that the global oil supply glut that resulted from the pandemic has disappeared, due to a steep drop in supply, aided by the OPEC+ production cuts. Inventories have drained off. But the agency also revised down its oil demand forecast for 2021 by 270,000 bpd, due to lower consumption levels in Europe, OECD Americas, and India
However, the operator of the ransomware group Darkside said it had lost control of its servers and some of the money it had made through ransom payments, according to Recorded Future threat intelligence analyst Dmitry Smilyanets.
The operator of Darkside also said that cryptocurrency funds were withdrawn from their payment server, which was hosting ransom payments.
Darkside was behind the ransomware attack on the main pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel to the U.S. East Coast, Colonial Pipeline, which shut down late last week, disrupting gasoline and diesel deliveries to many states. This created panic buying and sent the national U.S. average gasoline price above $3 per gallon for the first time since 2014.
Colonial Pipeline has reportedly paid ransom, to the tune of almost US$5 million in untraceable cryptocurrency, to the hackers that forced the operator to shut down the main U.S. fuel pipeline, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing two sources with knowledge of the transaction.
The ransomware group said it had lost access to servers just a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said that “We’re also going to pursue a measure to disrupt their ability to operate,” referring to the hackers of Colonial Pipeline’s computer network
President Biden said there was no evidence that the Russian government was behind the attack, but the people involved in the ransomware attack “are living in Russia.”
According to Recorded Future’s Smilyanets, the announcement from Darkside could mean that the U.S. had taken steps to disrupt the cyber criminals’ “ability to operate”. But it could also be a smokescreen so that the hackers shut down the computer infrastructure and network and run away with the money, the so-called “exit scam,” Smilyanets warns.