President Joe Biden refused Thursday to confirm reports that Colonial Pipeline Co. paid a nearly $5 million fee to free their computer infrastructure from a ransomware hacking attack.
When asked by reporters if he was briefed about the company paying the ransom, Biden replied, “I have no comment on that” during an event at the White House to discuss the pipeline disruption and gas shortage.
Bloomberg News reported Thursday that the Colonial Pipeline paid the nearly $5 million ransom fee in untraceable cryptocurrency and received a decrypting tool to restore their computer network, according to “two people familiar with the transaction.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also refused comment when asked if the administration knew about the company paying the ransom.
“I’m just not going to have any more on that,” she replied during the White House daily press briefing.
She said the federal government recommended private companies not to pay ransoms to hackers, but punted questions about the reported payment to Colonial Pipeline.
“It continues to be the position of the federal government, the FBI, that it is not in the interests of the private sector for companies to pay the ransom because it incentivizes these actions,” Psaki said.