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Colonial Pipeline paid ransom to hackers who infiltrated its system

Colonial Pipeline paid a ransom to hackers who infiltrated its system and forced the shutdown of a major fuel pipeline to the East Coast last week, multiple sources confirmed to CBS News on Thursday. A source close to the investigation said the company paid a multi-million dollar ransom.

The sources did not provide a specific timeframe for the payment, but said the company paid the hackers shortly after its systems started locking down last week. The company has not publicly confirmed the payment.

Bloomberg News, which first reported the payment, said the company paid the hackers $ 5 million. CBS News has not confirmed this figure.

The pipeline closure sparked panic in the southeastern United States, with residents lining up at gas pumps for hours over fear of a shortage. The 5,500-mile pipeline provides 45% of the East Coast’s fuel.

After announcing on Wednesday that it had started restarting pipeline operations, Colonial Pipeline said on Thursday that it had successfully restarted the entire system and product delivery to all markets had resumed. But the company warned it would take “several days” for supply to return to normal, warning that intermittent service disruptions could still occur.

As of Thursday morning, 74% of North Carolina’s gas stations were facing outages, as were half of Georgia’s gas stations, according to Gas Buddy, a company that finds real-time fuel prices and locations.

Colonial Pipeline paid ransom to hackers who infiltrated its system
An out of service bag covers a pump handle at a gas station on May 12, 2021 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Sean Rayford / Getty

President Biden weighed in earlier Thursday, urging Americans to stop stockpiling gas. “Do not consume more gasoline than necessary in the next few days,” said the president. “As I said, we expect the situation to start improving by the weekend and early next week, and the gasoline supply is back on line, and the panic buying will only slow down the process. “

The FBI said on Monday that a criminal gang known as DarkSide was responsible for the ransomware attack. While US intelligence suggests the hackers live in Russia, there is no indication that the Russian government was involved in the attack.

Andres Triay contributed reporting.


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