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The Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama. (Photo: Bloomberg) The Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama. (Photo: Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) — The ransomware attack that shut down the nation’s biggest fuel pipeline prompted an all-too-familiar question in the corridors of power in Washington and boardrooms across the country: Can anyone stop debilitating hacks?

The recent assault on Colonial Pipeline Co. was a particular affront. Not only did it disrupt fuel distribution on the East Coast, but it also followed an effort by the Biden administration to act against cybercrime — especially ransomware, where criminals remotely disable a computer system and demand payment. Colonial was hit on day 37 of a 60-day push by the Department of Homeland Security to confront such attacks.

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