On Friday, Colonial Pipeline Co. paid hackers nearly $5 million to free their computer network of the hackers that plagued their system, despite claims they had no intention of doing so.
Bloomberg News reported that the company paid the ransom in Bitcoin, so it can’t be traced and received a decrypting tool to restore their computer network, according to “two people familiar with the transaction.”
On Monday, the FBI confirmed that the Darkside ransomware hacking group was responsible for the attack on the pipeline providing up to 50 percent of gas on the East Coast. Darkside is believed to operate in Russia and Eastern Europe.
By Tuesday and Wednesday, many states on the East Coast suffered crippling fuel shortages as President Joe Biden and his administration struggled to respond to the crisis.
On Monday, the White House acknowledged private companies in ransomware situations like Colonial Pipeline Co. sometimes had to pay the fee to hackers.
“We recognize that victims of cyberattacks often face a very difficult situation,” Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger told reporters at the White House on Monday. “And they have to just balance off, in the cost-benefit, when they have no choice with regard to paying a ransom.”