Report: Colonial Pipeline Doesn’t Plan to Pay Ransom in Cyber Attack

Elsa Enamorado calls her son to help her load cans of gasoline into her car at a Shell station, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Miami. State and federal officials are scrambling to find alternate routes to deliver gasoline in the Southeast U.S. after a hack of the nation's largest fuel …
AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

Colonial Pipeline reportedly does not currently plan on paying a ransom to hackers believed to be responsible for a cyberattack on the energy giant’s pipeline, causing gas shortages across parts of the United States.

The Washington Post reports:

[Colonial Pipeline] are working with the cybersecurity firm Mandiant to restore the data from backup systems where possible and rebuild systems where backups are unavailable, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is still under investigation.

[…] Mandiant quickly traced the stolen data to a server owned by a New York hosting firm, which over the weekend shut the server down, preventing any data to flow to the hackers, according to several people familiar with the matter. With that extortion avenue sealed off and with Mandiant helping to restore data and rebuild systems, “there’s no reason to make the payment,” one of the people said. DarkSide ransom demands can range from $500,000 to more than $5 million, according to Mandiant.

The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which began on Thursday, sparked panic-buying at gas stations, leading to some running out of fuel. Gas prices in some parts of the U.S. ticked higher than $3 per gallon, the first time since 2016. Meanwhile, the Biden White House continues to struggle to respond to the gas shortage.

“I’ll defer to announcements from the company on their process,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters at the White House daily press briefing Wednesday.

Buttigieg then called on Americas to avoid hoarding gasoline.

“This is a time to be sensible and to be safe,” he stated, before adding, “Hoarding does not make things better, and under no circumstances should gasoline be put into anything but a vehicle directly or an approved container.”

In North Carolina, 28% of gas stations were out of fuel, according to Gasbuddy.com, a technology firm that tracks real-time fuel prices across the country. In Raleigh-Durham, it was worse, with 72% of gas stations out of fuel. Just outside Raleigh, two people were charged with assault after fighting and spitting in each other’s faces while arguing over their spots in line Tuesday at a Marathon gas station, authorities said.

North Carolina Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper urged people Wednesday to only buy gas if their tank is low and to report any instances of price gouging.

“We will continue our efforts to help make sure there is an adequate supply of fuel,” Cooper wrote on Twitter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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