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Colonial Pipeline CEO shares insights from cyber hack during Senate hearing

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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.”

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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