Colonial Pipeline CEO admits to authorizing $  4.4 million ransomware payment

Washington Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount said he authorized a ransom payment of $ 4.4 million in response to a cyberattack on the company’s network earlier this month, according to The Wall Street Journal, which published an interview with the CEO Wednesday.

This is the first public announcement by the company that a ransom had been paid and comes after repeated refusals from the company to discuss the payment, which Blount called “a highly controversial decision.”
“It was the right thing to do for the country,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this.”
    CNN reported last week that Colonial Pipeline paid the ransomware group that carried out a crippling cyberattack, two sources familiar with the matter said. The ransomware attack spurred the company to shutdown pipeline operations, causing massive gasoline disruptions in the southeast US.
      Colonial Pipeline briefed congressional staff on Monday, offering new insight into the timeline of the ransomware attack, but also frustrating lawmakers and staff over the company’s refusal to discuss the ransom and related details.
          Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said they were “disappointed that the company refused to share any specific information regarding the reported payment of ransom during today’s briefing.”
          “In order for Congress to legislate effectively on ransomware, we need this information,” they added in a statement.

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