Colonial CEO Ransom

May 19, 2021
gas pump

I know that’s a highly controversial decision… But it was the right thing to do for the country.

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount, confirming that the company did in fact pay a ransom to DarkSide, the criminal group responsible for the May 7th cyberattack.
  • On May 7, Colonial Pipeline, which delivers nearly half of the fuel (100 million gallons of fuel a day) consumed on the East Coast, learned it was the target of a ransomware attack, and quickly took systems offline to contain the threat. Colonial announced it began restarting pipeline operations on May 12.
  • On Wednesday, Colonial's CEO acknowledged what many had assumed, that the company paid a hefty ($4.4 million) ransom to the hackers in order to recoup control of its systems.
  • In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Blount said he paid the ransom on the same day Colonial learned of the attack, admitting "it wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door" to the hackers.
    • FYI: Colonial paid the ransom via bitcoin, according to "a person familiar with the matter," said The Wall Street Journal
  • BIG PICTURE: Colonial's admission comes a week after operations resumed as many in the U.S. are struggling to access gas amid availability shortages and rising prices over the past few months. With Memorial Day less than two weeks away, Gas Buddy analysts says rising prices will fall, but the national average is still set to be the highest since 2014, at $2.98 per gallon, with 46% of Americans saying high gas prices will influence their holiday travel plans.

by Jenna Lee,