May 14, 2021 7:19 AM | With information from EFE
15 minutes. Colonial Pipeline, the company that operates the network of pipelines in the United States (USA) affected by a cyberattack, paid a ransom of 5 million dollars to the hackers who hacked it, according to the Bloomberg agency.
The outlet, which cites 2 sources familiar with the transaction, assures that This information contradicts reports from earlier this week. The company had said it had no intention of paying an extortion fee to help restore the country’s largest fuel pipeline.
Colonial paid the hefty ransom in cryptocurrencies, which are untraceable, within hours of the attack. This highlights the immense pressure faced by the operator, based in Georgia, for gasoline and jet fuel to flow back to major cities along the East Coast.
A third source cited by the agency, who also does not identify, said that US government officials know that Colonial made the payment.
Once they received the payment, the hackers provided the operator with a decryption tool to restore their disabled computer network.
The CNBC chain had already reported a few hours ago that Colonial had made the payment to the pirates. However, he did not specify the amount delivered.
The source with whom the television channel spoke, who asked to remain anonymous, did not specify how much money the company paid or when the transaction took place. Colonial, for its part, refused to answer this question.
What the Government did not say
Shortly before this information was published, US President Joe Biden refused at a press conference to answer questions about whether Colonial had paid a ransom. However, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, stated during her daily appearance that the federal government’s policy continues to be not to deliver the money that is requested. Specifically, for fear of encouraging cybercriminals to launch more attacks.
Meanwhile, this Monday one of Biden’s main cybersecurity advisers, Anne Neuberger, also refused to confirm the payment of a ransom.
“Normally that is a decision of the private sector,” he said.
The FBI accused the Darkside hacking group, based in eastern Europe, of being responsible for last Friday’s cyberattack. The event caused the interruption of his activities for several days.
On Wednesday, Colonial announced the resumption of operations. However, he warned that it would be several days before he returned to normal.
In addition, this Thursday reported in a statement that work to resume full flow in the pipeline network was progressing. He also assured that by noon all the markets they serve would receive supply.
The network supplies fuel to 45% of the US east coast market. It also transports up to 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel per day from refineries in the Gulf of Mexico to the south and east of the country.