Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid nearly $5 million to the hackers that shut off service to the largest fuel line in the US

Woman uses gas pump during fuel shortage sparked by colonial pipeline attack
A woman fills her car at a gas station in Annapolis, Maryland, on May 12, 2021. Fears the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline because of a cyber attack would cause a gasoline shortage led to some panic buying and prompted US regulators to temporarily suspend clean fuel requirements in three eastern states and the nation’s capital.

  • After shutting down a major US gas provider, hackers were reportedly paid nearly $5 million.
  • Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid out the ransom almost immediately after the attack last Friday.
  • Instead of cash, the nearly $5 million was said to be paid in untraceable cryptocurrency.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The hackers who shut down the largest US fuel pipeline last week got rich from the attack: The group received nearly $5 million to restore service, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

That ransom was reportedly paid in untraceable cryptocurrency.

Though previous reports stated that no money changed hands, Colonial Pipeline is said to have paid the ransom “within hours” after it was attacked last Friday. Representatives for the company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to Bloomberg, Colonial Pipeline got a decryption tool in exchange for nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency. That tool was reportedly used to help restore the company’s computer systems, which were hobbled in the so-called “ransomware” attack.

“Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society,” the hacking group DarkSide, thought to be responsible for the attack, said in a statement earlier this week. The group also promised to be more careful in the future with its attacks, “to avoid social consequences in the future.”

Colonial Pipeline is responsible for nearly half the fuel consumed by the United States’ east coast.

After the attack, gas shortages hit several US states and some people rushed to hoard gasoline in anticipation of ongoing shortages. Following the restoration of Colonial Pipeline’s services, the US Department of Energy said it expects a return to normal supply by the end of this coming weekend.

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