Colonial Pipeline Co is reported to have paid a hefty ransom of almost $5 million to hackers on Friday. Sources told Bloomberg News on Thursday that the payment was made after a cyber-attack pulled the gas company offline while creating massive damages through gas shortages which oppose the speculation that the company wouldn’t pay a ransom. Colonial Pipeline was compelled to stop the service of over 2.5 million barrels of gasoline for about five days.
Reports from Washington Post said that the company was working with FireEye, a cybersecurity company, to restore their systems and programs to normalcy in a bid to avoid paying the ransom. The attempt was backed by the FBI as they do not recommend paying a ransom to cybercriminals, maintaining that it wouldn’t guarantee the safety or normal return of organizational data.
However, the ransom unavoidably had to be paid as pressure increased for the Georgia-based operator to get jet fuel and gas flowing again to major cities on the Eastern Seaboard. The ransom according to the demand of the hackers were paid in cryptocurrency through a channel that has proven very difficult to trace.
After the payment, the hackers provided the company with a decrypting tool to restore its held systems. However, after restoration, the tool turned out to be very slow making the operator use its backups to aid the restoration.