Colonial Reportedly Pays $5 MILLION Ransom to Restart Critical U.S. Pipeline
Alpharetta, GA – The largest refined products pipeline operator in the United States reportedly paid millions of dollars to a cybercriminal group in order to restart its 5,500-mile system.
According to a bombshell Bloomberg News report, Colonial Pipeline paid a ransom of nearly $5 million to a cyberterrorist group called “DarkSide.”
The criminal group allegedly hit Colonial Pipeline last week with a ransomware attack forcing the company to shut down its network.
“[Colonial] paid the hefty ransom in difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency within hours after the attack,” two people familiar with the transaction told Bloomberg News.
Further, the Bloomberg News report also reveals that the Biden Administration is aware of the arrangement.
“A third person familiar with the situation said U.S. government officials are aware that Colonial made the payment,” the report states.
A subsequent Wall Street Journal report claims to have also confirmed with its sources that the payment was indeed made.
After making the payment, Colonial then allegedly received a “decrypting tool” to restore its disabled computer network, but it was ultimately ineffective.
Instead, Colonial was able to initiate a restart by relying on system data backups.
Transportation Nation Network has not yet been able to independently confirm these reports.
Colonial has been tight-lipped about its communications with the alleged hackers and have not publicly confirmed or denied a payment was made.
The Biden Administration has also not directly addressed these new revelations.
Late Thursday afternoon, Colonial did provide an update on its restart saying it was continuing to “make substantial progress.”
“We can now report that we have restarted our entire pipeline system and that product delivery has commenced to all markets we serve,” the company said. “Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during this start-up period.”
— Colonial Pipeline (@Colpipe) May 13, 2021
Additionally, the company said each market serviced by its pipeline is now receiving product but expects it to take “several days” for the supply chain to return to normal.
Meanwhile, fuel outages continue to plague multiple states across the southeast and east coast.
As of 12pm CT, stations without gasoline, % of state:
— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) May 13, 2021
The major truck stop chains are also still reporting outages and low fuel supply at dozens of locations in a number of these areas.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow the latest developments.
Photo courtesy Colonial Pipeline