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Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid $5 million ransom to a hacker group within hours after a cyber attack forced its pipeline to shut down.

Bloomberg reports Colonial paid hackers $5 million within hours after the pipeline was attacked by ransomware on Friday.

Colonial repeatedly denied paying any ransom to the Russian hacker collective Darkside. However, Bloomberg confirmed via inside sources that the ramson was paid "within hours" of the cyber attack.

Colonial pipeline resumed partial operations late Wednesday after paying the ransom to unlock its computerized pipeline system.

The pipeline has already delivered over 1 million gallons of gasoline to stations in southeastern states. However, officials warn that the pipeline won't be fully operational until early next week.

The Washington Post reports that Colonial was "extorted" by the hacker group which threatened to release the company's data unless a fee was paid. The fee was $5 million.

Once the ransom was paid, the hackers provided Colonial with a decryption tool to restore its computer system.

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If you can't find gas in your city that's probably because your fellow Americans are hoarding gasoline in everything from garbage bags to inflatable swimming pools.

Florida, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina declared states of emergency as residents panic buy gasoline, leading to severe gas shortages in the southeast. 1,000 gas stations in the south ran dry as a result of unnecessary hoarding.

When a state of emergency is declared during a gas shortage, the police are supposed to monitor gas stations to prevent hoarding.

People should be limited to 1 or 2 gallons of gas so the shortage doesn't worsen.

Twitter users posted photos of craven hoarders. Not only is filling trash bags with gasoline dangerous, it's also illegal.

Megan Varner/Getty Images

Florida, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina declared states of emergency as residents panic buy gasoline, leading to gas shortages.

Gas prices soared and fears of a nationwide shortage caused people to panic buy gas after a cyber attack shut down a major gas pipeline over the weekend.

The national average for retail gasoline was $2.985 on Tuesday -- the highest since November 2014.

Megan Varner/Getty Images

Panic buyers lined up outside gas stations in Atlanta on Tuesday, May 11. Some drivers walked up with gas cans after bypassing stations that were closed.

The FBI has confirmed that Russian hacking collective DarkSide is responsible for the ransomware cyber attack that crippled a Georgia-based fuel pipeline.

Colonial Pipeline, which is operated out of Alpharetta, near Atlanta, is the largest pipeline on the East Coast. It runs from Texas to New Jersey and transports 45% of the East Coast's fuel supply, including gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel.

Colonial officials announced it shut down the pipeline out of an abundance of caution after discovering the ransomware.

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks a company's data and threatens to delete the data unless a ransom is paid, typically in Bitcoin.

The attack is unleashed after an employee unwittingly clicks a phishing link in an email that impersonates an individual or company known to the employee.

Hundreds of major corporations and even hospitals have been hit by ransomware cyber attacks over the years.

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Atlanta gas stations reported dwindling gas supplies on Monday, 2 days after a cyber security breach shut down a major gas pipeline.

A Twitter user posted a photo of a safety conscious Atlanta resident pumping gas at one of the few stations that didn't run dry on Monday night.

Colonial Pipeline, an Alpharetta-based company, shut down its gas pipeline system after a ransomware attack crippled its IT systems.

The pipeline supplies less than half of the gas to the East Coast. Colonial Pipeline operates about 5,500 miles of pipeline from Texas to New York. The ransomware attack was announced on Saturday.

AFP via Getty Images

Tensions escalated on Monday as many gas stations ran dry and long lines formed at gas stations in Atlanta.

The Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency urged motorists to take precautions to conserve gas so the pumps don't run dry.

The agency urged residents not to fill up their gas tanks unless they absolutely have to. Those who have multiple cars should consider driving the most gas efficient vehicle. Plan to run several errands in a single trip. Residents are also advised to take the bus or MARTA public transportation.

North Carolina declared a state of emergency as stations in Virginia, Atlanta and Florida began to run out of gas on Monday.

If the pipeline is not operational by Wednesday, a significant fuel disruption is expected on the East Coast.