Colonial Pipeline surrenders to hackers: Colonia paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom via an untraceable cryptocurrency
Colonial Pipeline finally capitulates and surrenders to hackers five days after a crippling cyberattack that shut the largest fuel pipeline network in the United States, according to a report from Bloomberg News, citing two people familiar with the transaction. Contrary to what the company said in public, Colonial reportedly paid the ransom just hours after the attack.
According to the report, the company paid the hefty ransom in untraceable cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, according to the report. The cyberattack on America’s largest fuel pipeline shows the fragility of the U.S. energy infrastructure system.
The attack on the 5,500-mile pipeline system that takes fuel from the refineries of the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area also shows how vulnerable and unprepared the United States in the event of cyberattacks on energy infrastructure.
As we reported a few days ago, the demand for gasoline rose more than 40% on Monday in five states alone — Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia — gasoline demand rose more than 40% on Monday, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan.
According to the pipeline operator, the Alpharetta, GA-based Colonial Pipeline Co., the company said it learned a day before the media coverage that it was a victim of a cyberattack and “took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations.”
Then, in an update Saturday afternoon, Colonial said it found that the cyberattack on its pipeline involved ransomware, a type of code that attempts to seize computer systems and demand payment from the victim to have them unlocked. Colonial also added that the attack only struck its IT networks, not operational networks.
“The company learned of the attack on some of its ‘information technology’ or corporate network systems” but “proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat”