Washington, May 19: Joseph Blount, CEO of Colonial Pipeline Co. has acknowledged that the company has paid the ransom payment of $4.4 million to hackers after a cyber- criminal gang took the major US fuel pipeline offline, Fox News reported citing Wall Street Journal.
Joseph Blount authorizing the ransom to hackers was confirmed by the Wall Street Journal.
The company is unaware how badly the cyberattack has breached its systems and how long it will take to bring to return to normalcy.
The decision was taken given the stakes involved in a shutdown of such critical energy infrastructure.
The Colonial Pipeline, which carries about 2.5 million barrels a day –45 per cent of the fuel consumed on the US East Coast (diesel, petrol and jet fuel), was hit by a cyberattack on May 7, resulting in the pipeline shutdown and a rise in gas prices.
Colonial was forced to shut down operations after it was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack that crippled its energy infrastructure.
The company delivers approximately 100 million gallons of fuel per day and about 36 billion gallons per year to the markets it serves.
The FBI later confirmed that the cyber criminal gang DarkSide, based in Eastern Europe, was behind the attack.
“Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society,” DarkSide wrote on its website.
US President Joe Biden said that he was being “personally briefed” on the situation with the pipeline each day and “The agencies across the government have acted quickly to mitigate any impact on our fuel supply.” On May 12, the Colonial Pipeline announced of resuming its systems to “normal operations” to fulfil gas shortages in the United States.
“As we previously reported, Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations at approximately 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 12. Since that time, we have returned the system to normal operations, delivering millions of gallons per hour to the markets we serve, ” Colonial Pipeline tweeted.