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Colonial Pipeline paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom - Bloomberg News

Sports & GeneralMay 13, 2021 11:57AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Holding tanks are seen in an aerial photograph at Colonial Pipeline's Dorsey Junction Station in Woodbine, Maryland, U.S. May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Drone Base/File Photo

(Reuters) -Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday after a crippling cyberattack that shut the largest fuel pipeline network in the United States, Bloomberg News reported, citing two people familiar with the transaction.

The company paid the ransom in untraceable cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, according to the report. (https://bloom.bg/3hnngHz)

Colonial Pipeline declined to comment.

Whether targets of such attacks should pay to regain control of their systems is a matter of fierce debate. Critics contend that paying ransom encourages attacks.

U.S. House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday ransom should not be paid by companies that are the victims of cyber attacks.

The hackers provided Colonial Pipeline with a decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network after they received the payment, but the company used its own backups to help restore the system since the tool was slow, Bloomberg News reported.

After a six-day outage, the top U.S. fuel pipeline, which carries 100 million gallons per day of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, moved some of the first millions of gallons of motor fuels on Thursday.

The shutdown caused gasoline shortages and emergency declarations from Virginia to Florida, led two refineries to curb production and had airlines reshuffling some refueling operations.

The FBI earlier this week accused a shadowy criminal gang called DarkSide for the ransomware attack. The group has not directly taken credit, but on Wednesday it claimed to have breached systems at three other companies.

A terse news release posted to DarkSide's website did not directly mention Colonial Pipeline but, under the heading "About the latest news," it noted that "our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society".

The White House declined to weigh in on Monday whether companies that are hacked such as Colonial Pipeline should pay ransom to their attackers, but a national security official said it may offer some advice in the future.

Colonial Pipeline paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom - Bloomberg News
 

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Comments (5)
Brandon Bell
Brandon Bell May 13, 2021 12:45PM ET
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The government only has advanced cyber spying on legal citizens and political opponents, not for helping major gas pipelines that get hacked.
Edward Shaw
Edward Shaw May 13, 2021 12:43PM ET
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The government only has advanced cyber spying on legal citizens and political opponents, not for helping major gas pipelines that get hacked.
Edward Shaw
Edward Shaw May 13, 2021 12:42PM ET
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They paid the ransom? Biden administration really is like Obama.
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye May 13, 2021 11:49AM ET
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Colonial will have the last laugh: the way the dollar is heading, by the time the hackers spend it, it'll be worth $3 million.
danny Levine
danny Levine May 13, 2021 11:49AM ET
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hahaha
Michael Cruz
Michael Cruz May 13, 2021 11:49AM ET
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this guy doesnt understand what crypto is at all. lmao.
alex gallegos
alex gallegos May 13, 2021 11:48AM ET
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It was a waste of money to pay the ransom. They used their own backup.
Chukwuka Edoziuno
Chukwuka Edoziuno May 13, 2021 11:48AM ET
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I think the hackers were trying to prove something to the Colonial guys.
 
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