Colonial Pipeline paid Eastern European hackers millions of dollars in ransom last week, despite previous reports suggesting the company had no plans to do so, according to Bloomberg News.
Colonial Pipeline paid almost $5 million to the hackers in cryptocurrency on Friday "within hours" of the ransomware attack against the company, which led to the pipeline that runs from Texas to New Jersey being shut down, according to the report. Hackers reportedly then provided a decrypting tool to restore the computer network, although "the tool was so slow that the company continued using its own backups to help restore the system," Bloomberg writes. U.S. government officials are reportedly aware that Colonial Pipeline paid the ransom.
This contradicted earlier reporting including from Reuters, which said the company didn't have plans to pay the hackers' ransom. Colonial Pipeline on Wednesday restarted operations, but warned it would take "several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal." In remarks from the White House on Thursday, President Biden urged Americans not to "get more gas than you need in the next few days," as "we expect the situation to begin to improve by the weekend and into early next week, and gasoline supply is coming back online." Asked if he was briefed on Colonial Pipeline paying the ransom, Biden said he had "no comment on that."