Colonial Pipeline CEO shares insights from cyber hack during Senate hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount surrounding the recent cyber attack that halted gas transportation all along the east coast. Blount confirmed many reports surrounding the hack, including the payment of the ransom.

Blount reported that the company paid the ransom for DarkSide’s encryption tool in order to restore their systems. Meanwhile, it is the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s policy to not pay ransoms in order to discourage more ransomware attacks.

But, Blount claimed the FBI never discouraged him personally from paying the ransom and they were in contact very early on. “We reached out within hours,” he said. “It was our understanding that the decision was solely ours to make about whether to pay the ransom.”

Ranking Member Rob Portman asked about their use of multi-factor identification. Unfortunately, it was the virtual private network the company used that had only a single-factor. “It was a complicated password,” Blount said ” “It wasn’t just Colonial123.”

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