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Colonial Pipeline Hackers Received $5 Million Ransom

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Computer security and extortion concept. Ransomware virus has encrypted data in laptop | Colonial Pipeline Hackers Received $5 Million Ransom | Featured

Despite its insistence that it will not give in to extortion, Colonial Pipeline Co reportedly paid hackers a $5 million ransom. Only after did the company get control back of their 5,500-mile pipeline. Sources close to the situation confirmed the payoff. 

RELATED: Colonial Pipeline Shutdown Leads to Panic Buying

$5 Million Ransom In Cryptocurrency

DarkSide, the Eastern European hacker group who infiltrated Colonial Pipeline received the payment last Friday. The hacker group gave instructions on how to pay the $5 million ransom, insisting on difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency.

Given the immense pressure from the pipeline company to get operations back to normal, they elected to pay the price. According to a different source, the US government is aware that the company paid the ransom. However, a representative from Colonial declined to comment.

Once the hacker group confirmed receiving the payment, they gave Colonial a decryption tool to restore the computer system. Reportedly, the decryption tool worked very slowly.

Colonial had to continue using backups to get back online faster.  By 5 pm Eastern, Colonial managed to get its entire system back online and resumed full pipeline operations. 

DarkSide

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said that the group specializes in digital extortion. Investigators believe that the group’s headquarters are either in Russia or somewhere in Eastern Europe.

They use ransomware to lock up an unsuspecting victim’s files. Then, the attackers will offer to unlock the files for a fee. Otherwise, they will destroy the files, which can prove unrecoverable for the owner. Recently, some ransomware groups steal personal data and threaten to release it to the public unless they get paid. 

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Initially, Colonial Pipeline declared they will not pay the ransom, which the FBI supported. The Bureau discourages companies from giving to attackers’ demands.

They said that even if one pays the ransom, it is not a guarantee that hackers will return the stolen data. Successful ransoms also encourage other hackers to follow. 

Cyber Cancer

Making a decision is easy for some companies when weighed in with the costs of losing their data or enduring a long period offline. Many are willing to pay if their cyber-insurance policies will foot the bill.

In addition, there are some companies that have little choice on the matter. The fear of getting exposed or having a data leak is often a fatal situation. 

Ondrej Krehel, CEO of digital forensics firms LIFARS, says many choose to pay. Often, it’s the hacker group that owns the advantage in the situation.

“They had to pay. This is cyber cancer. You want to die or you want to live? It’s not a situation where you can wait.”

Decision to Pay Ultimately Lies With The Company

In the case of Colonial’s $ 5 million ransom, the company likely did what they had to do. Anne Neuberger, the White House’s top cybersecurity official, said that the company makes the final call.

“We recognize, though, that companies are often in a difficult position if their data is encrypted and they do not have backups and cannot recover the data,” she told reporters Monday. 

A ransomware task force released a report that said that this kind of cybercrime is on the rise. The total amount of ransom paid by victims in 2020 reached $350 million dollars in cryptocurrency.

This represents a 311% increase from the previous year. The average ransom paid by companies is $312,493.

Watch the CNBC News video reporting that Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million to hackers:

Would you have paid the ransom if you managed the Colonial pipeline?

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Do you agree with Colonial’s decision to pay the ransom? Also, will you do the same if a ransomware attack happened to you?

Let us know what you think about ransomware. Share your thoughts below.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  • Jerry says:

    Shame on Biden for not investigating and charging these criminals! Had Trump be in office these thugs would have been hunted down and in jail ! This just gives way to more of the same!

  • Jimmy R Young says:

    5 million today 10 million tomorrow. all goes to Russia and Putin. President Biden will look the other way.

  • Thomas says:

    only problem with our country the FBl has become a part of the Democratic party worthless. and Believe me if i had someone every day telling Americans that i was evil and the American Government wants to put me out of Business. Any of my products going to them would be increased 300 % i would calculate all my employees losing there jobs how old how many years they were going to lose. Retirement Benefits,Health Care Benefits add them to my price. please answer why would any sane person just bend over to get screwed

  • Kim says:

    Jerry, thats exactly right. They just let them know next time they can ask 10 million d shut down power and water and anything they want. Biden has to be the worst President in history. Shame on him. TRUMP 2024

  • Pat Decator says:

    Reported Russia and China ahead of us in technology. Time the US gets tough an ups the ante to secure our country. Then REOPEN AND COMPLETE the pipeline Biden closed down.
    Send those in support of the Green New Deal to China if they like to promote it. ie: AOC, Bernie Sanders, Pelosi, Schumer, and John Kerry. Biden and family also. Maybe the latter has a house there all ready since Hunter is in so thick with China.

  • Sheldon L says:

    if we had been a multi trillionaire Chrmn. of the BRD. AND OUR son or daughter held for JUST 5M$??????….

  • Jaheem R Glasgow says:

    Fuck Biden and Fuck y’all for voting for him.
    The timing is to close to be considered a coincidence. Biden and Pelosi want gas prices to soar so Americans have no choice but to switch to electric vehicles.

  • Robyn Korn says:

    What infrastructure is next? I sure dont like this feeling of being held hostage. Find the criminals and prosecute! Throw away the key.

  • Jack says:

    By paying the 45 million ransom, you just embolden the hackers to continue to do it again and more often. I guess crime does pay under OBiden administration

  • George says:

    can’t none of those USA hackers shutdown Russia tran Siberian oil pipeline?

    what happened to Langley VA and those good folk at the NSA in the mountains of Minnesota?

    offer A 50$$$ million bounty .. tell them like Strother Martin (“Straw Boss”) in “Cool hand Luke”:

    “We are the United States government…
    Luke/colonial pipeline hackers, U got to All get yah minds right!!!. this is not a F’in’ video game!” yeah you got $5mil if you LIVE long enough to spend it??!? that is🥶

  • Anonymous says:

    *5 million ransom

  • Judy Walters says:

    I think it’s wrong to give into ransom. If caught they need to be punished to the full extent of the law.

  • Tree Rollins says:

    These companies need to invest in top cyber security systems which are widely available from outside their own feckless IT departments. More is coming.

  • Nate says:

    This is an example of “Open Season” for ransom, blackmail, extortion, you name it! Grow a pair, locate and arrest these thieves!!!

  • Nate says:

    MORE TO COME!

  • Kimberly Cay says:

    Company losing billions daily and cant fix it. No help from bozo biden and company. No real choice but to pay to keep company and salvage american businesses that rely on that gas.

  • pinetree says:

    id pay it after which I would put together a hard hitting team to find who these a holes are and make example as they would never pull this again, but then again that’s just my opinion

  • Don Schad says:

    As Ronald Regan once said…”the U.S. DOES NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORIST!!!” And that’s exactly what these people are TERRORISTS! As long as you pay, they will keep doing the same thing. The heads of these companies are the same ones that have brought you the likes of BLM, Acorn, and all the other little snot, punk kids/adults by creating…”time outs, and discussion s about their behavior”, instead of a swift KICK IN THE PANTS!!
    Stand up AMERICA! Enough has to be Enough!!

  • Honest says:

    Probably the “Biden Crime Family” needed more money~

  • Kathy says:

    They should get help from hacking experts to try and resolve this w/o paying. I thought that normally these issues could be identified and fixed. Biden should have put some pressure to get this done and “out of the box” thinking.

  • Chb says:

    Lock these people up and leave the keys in the door,then weld the door shut

  • Mike Steeger says:

    NO find them and hang them the heck with throwing them in prison.

  • John P. says:

    No I don’t agree that the ransom be paid but in this case what alternative did they have? The FBI has no jurisdiction in Russia anyway. So what could they have done about it! And nowadays they only seem to be interested in investigating crimes committed by the right wing. Colonial made a business decision to get back up and running ASAP. Which is more than I can say for the current administration.

  • JHittle says:

    It irritates me to no end that another foreign country made Americans look like idiots. Clueless Biden and his tourage of government imbeciles have no clue of protecting American citizens. Also culpable are the morons at Colonial for not being aware of their defenseless software and taking necessary the precautions. Colonial did not pay $5M. That cost will be passed on to consumers. You and I will pay the $5M. Colonial will get back their money. Thank God it was the Eastern Europe bandits who attacked us. If it had been China, Biden probably would have given them the keys to Fort Knox.

  • mary williams says:

    We do look like idiots. quit giving money to American terrorist like BLM and Antifa’s group and spend it on making America safe. Our own government has sold us out and all the other Countries Know it. SAD SAD Country.

  • yvonne says:

    They should inform public to whom they paid. Public will pay for the ransom anyway.

  • Mark Hiatt says:

    Find the hacker, hang them on national TV

  • Tet68Vietnam says:

    Welcome to the United Communist States of America! “China” Joe, that mumbling, stumbling old fool millions of insane brain-dead morons elected while he was hiding in his basement. To tell the truth, Biden is not in charge of anything. He is being controlled by a Marxist Cartel made of unelected bureaucrats in his cabinet, his family (lot of love there!”), Harris, the mainstream leftist media, Silicon Valley and the Jew-hating Jew, George Soros. Biden just does what they tell him to. If the sane half of the country doesn’t fight back, we are going to lose our country to the Communists. $5 million for a single pipeline? How much is the country’s power grid worth? And our so-called Intelligence Services should be hunting these terrorists down and putting them in the ground instead of devoting all their resources to hunting down Conservatives and ruining their lives! And we the people should be hunting down members of the Communist Cartel and put send them to China where the corrupt Biden family can introduce them to their new masters!!

  • J says:

    This is a good example of why we should not set everything up to depend on computers. We need manual backups, but are to lazy and cheap to do the work. Do we really want self operating tractor trailers and cars?

  • Anonymous says:

    You learned the hard way never put all your eggs in one basket and start using a pencil and paper and start relying on real people to do the job instead of trying to cut cost all the time

  • George brown says:

    Now they can do and ask what they want so wrong what’s next?

  • Kathreen Rickles says:

    THIS WAS DONE BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT. I AM ONE OF THE ONES THAT ARE AWAKE AND CAN SEE ALOT OF WHAT IS GOING ON.

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