So, how much does it cost to pay off cyber-terroists and get 100 million gallons of fuel flowing again to take care of the needs of half of the East Coast of the United States?
It looks like north of $4 million.
Thursday morning on Fox Business, billionaire John Catsimatidis was being interviewed by Maria Bartiromo and said “I understand from my sources that $4 million was paid.”
Whoever was doing the negotiating for Colonial Pipeline Co., did a stellar job, because early word last week had the Russian terrorist hacking group known as DarkSide looking for $100 million to return the computer system control to the company.
This is welcome news for the panic buyers on the East Coast who were waiting in very long lines to fill their tanks. Roughly 68% of North Carolina gas stations reported fuel shortages or outages, and Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C., were affected too.
Things should be sort of back to normal on Monday, when the 5,500 mile pipeline that goes from Houston, all the way up into New Jersey is expected to be running full speed again.
In case you’re wondering how these sophisticated hacking criminals operate, Bloomberg laid out the process pretty clearly in a report. The cyber-rhackers release ransomware bugs into a computer system, which knocks a utility, business or government agency off line. Then they make a multi-million dollar ransom demand, and when the crooks get paid in untraceable cryptocurrency, the hackers provide a decrypting tool that restores the network.
It’s a modern-day problem that is only going to get worse and U.S. businesses are frantically trying to prevent it from happening to them.