Joseph Blount, the CEO of Colonial Pipeline Co. acknowledges he made a "highly controversial decision" by authorizing a $4.4 million ransom payment (reportedly made in the form of bitcoin) after hackers had breached the company's system, but he ultimately felt he had no choice, he told The Wall Street Journal.
Executives were reportedly initially unsure of both the scale of the cyberattack and how long it would take to get the pipeline, which provides around 45 percent of the East Coast's fuel supply, up and running again, so Blount determined the risk of a prolonged shutdown was too great to ignore, despite the fact that the FBI advises companies not to pay when hit with ransomware (the agency says the money supports "a booming criminal marketplace," the Journal notes).
"I didn't make [the decision] lightly," Blount said. "I will admit that I wasn't comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this. But it was the right thing to do for the country." Read more at The Wall Street Journal.