Colonial Pipeline Paid Ransom to Hackers, Reports Say

Colonial Pipeline Paid Ransom to Hackers

(RepublicanPress.org) – One of the nation’s largest pipelines got hit with a ransomware attack last week. Colonial Pipeline contacted the FBI shortly after the May 7 attack. A group of hackers called Darkside took credit for it, and FBI officials later confirmed the attackers used Darkside-generated ransomware.

Colonial ended up shutting down its 5,500-mile pipeline for nearly a week. Its pipeline delivers more than 100 million gallons of jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel fuel daily from refineries scattered across the Gulf Coast. Its total distribution represents 45% of the total distribution of fuel in eastern and southern states.

The Biden administration set up a task force to deal with the issue. But as it turned out, all it took was tons of cash to sort out the problem.

Hackers Receive Millions From Colonial Pipeline

Colonial restored operations on Wednesday, May 12, but not before reportedly paying Darkside hackers nearly $5 million in hard to trace cryptocurrency. Bloomberg reported the ransom was paid last Friday, hours after the cyber attack.

That news directly contradicts reports from earlier this week saying Colonial Pipeline had no plans to pay extortion money to hackers. Two unnamed sources confirmed the payment, and a third said Biden administration officials were aware of the transaction.

If true, this situation raises several questions. For one, why did the Biden administration keep the payment a secret? Additionally, why was the payment made in the first place? It’s possible Colonial will recoup their loss by jacking up fuel prices at consumers’ expense.

Additionally, the FBI doesn’t “support” making payments to cybercriminals after suffering a ransomware attack. There’s no guarantee the hackers will restore things to normal functioning. Nor is there any reason to think they won’t demand additional payments.

If you are ever the victim of a ransomware attack, you can file a report with the FBI or contact your local FBI office.

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