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C.E.O. Details How Hackers Infiltrated Colonial Pipeline Network


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C.E.O. Details How Hackers Infiltrated Colonial Pipeline Network

Joseph Blount, the chief executive of Colonial Pipeline, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the company believes cybercriminals accessed its computer systems via a virtual private network that was no longer used.

Just one month ago, we were the victims of a ransomware attack by a cybercriminal group, and that attack encrypted our I.T. systems. Although the investigation is still ongoing, and we believe the attacker exploited the legacy V.P.N. profile that was not intended to be in use, DarkSide demanded a financial payment in exchange for a key to unlock the impacted systems. We had cyberdefenses in place, but the unfortunate reality is that those defenses were compromised. We reached out to federal authorities within hours of the attack, and they have continued to be true allies as we’ve worked to quickly and safely restore our operations. I made the decision to pay, and I made the decision to keep the information about the payment as confidential as possible. It was the hardest decision I’ve made in my 39 years in the energy industry. And I know how critical our pipeline is to the country. And I put the interests of the country first. I kept the information closely held because we were concerned about operational safety and security. And we wanted to stay focused on getting the pipeline back up and running. I believe with all my heart it was the right choice to make.

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