Caught Between A Bitcoin And A Pipeline. The CEO Of Colonial Pipeline Explains Why He Paid The $4.4 Million Ransom.

Tanker trucks are parked near the entrance of Colonial Pipeline Company Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. The operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline has confirmed it paid $4.4 million to a gang of hackers who broke into its computer systems. That's according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Colonial Pipeline’s CEO Joseph Blount told the Journal that he authorized the payment after the ransomware attack because the company didn’t know the extent of the damage. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount spoke for the first time since he paid ransomware attackers $4.4 million to get control o this computer system back. 

Why did he do it? Well, he told the Wall Street Journal he was being patriotic. 

“I know that’s a highly controversial decision. I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this. But it was the right thing to do for the country.”

The attack occurred on May 7, and it was a pressure packed next few days as Blount’s pipeline was shut down, affecting 45% of the East Coast that relies on their fuel from Colonial Pipeline. 

A ransom payment of 75 Bitcoin was paid the day after the terrorists took down Colonial’s corporate computer network. 

According to Blount, they learned about the attack at 5:30 a.m. on May 7th, and within an hour Colonial had shut down the pipeline.  It was a strategic decision that would prevent the infection from permanently damaging the operational controls of the pipeline. 

Last Wednesday almost 10,000 gas stations ran out of fuel, with the shortage really hitting Washington, D.C. hard. 

Blount and Colonial Pipeline are grateful the situation is behind them. They were forced to make a very quick but expensive decision, and it seems they are comfortable with what they did according to a company spokesman. 

“This decision was not made lightly. Tens of millions of Americans rely on Colonial – hospitals, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, airports, truck drivers and the traveling public.”

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please hover over that comment, click the ∨ icon, and mark it as spam. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.