Colonial Pipeline Co. has confirmed that they have paid a ransom of $4.4 million as a result of the ransomware attack that had severely impacted the company’s operations.
Controversial Colonial Pipeline Co. Ransomware Attack:
The pipeline’s shutdown resulted in panic buying in the eastern United States and a straight escalation in gasoline prices as Washington waived clean air regulations and rules on shipping and trucking to alleviate shortages.
Subsequently, the oil corp reported paying the DarkSide threat actors a ransom of $4.4 million when it was confirmed by the Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount to The Wall Street Journal, also accounting for the first public acknowledgment of the ransomware attack.
Colonial CEO Joseph Blount Confirms:
Joseph Blount told the newspaper he recognized the payment was a “highly controversial decision,” but that it was a necessary action given the debilitating impact of the multi-day shutdown on the United States.
“I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this,” stated Blount. “But it was the right thing to do for the country.”
While Colonial Pipeline Co. has seemingly returned to normal operations, the critical cybersecurity incident will cost Colonial tens of millions of additional dollars to completely restore the operations over a matter of months, Blount told the newspaper.
As for the after-effects ransomware attack, Colonial Pipeline Co. announced the previous week that it had resumed operations and had also initiated regular fuel shipments to all markets after staying inoperational for almost a week from May 7.
Reportedly, once the ransom payment was deployed to the threat actors, the organization was provided a decryption tool from the DarkSide hackers.
The payment was made in Bitcoin, as was reported by the The Wall Street Journal.