Colonial Pipeline Chief Executive Joseph Blount told a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday that the company's cyber defenses were in place, but were compromised ahead of an attack last month.
The hearing was convened to examine threats to critical infrastructure and the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack that shut the company's major fuel conduits last month.
The hack, attributed by the FBI to a gang called DarkSide, caused a days-long shutdown that led to a spike in gasoline prices, panic buying and localized fuel shortages. It posed a major political headache for President Joe Biden as the U.S. economy was starting to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. read more
The Justice Department on Monday said it had recovered some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline.
Colonial Pipeline previously had said it paid the hackers nearly $5 million to regain access. The value of the cryptocurrency bitcoin has dropped to below $35,000 in recent weeks after hitting a high of $63,000 in April.
Bitcoin seizures are rare, but authorities have stepped up their expertise in tracking the flow of digital money as ransomware has become a growing national security threat and put a further strain on relations between the United States and Russia, where many of the gangs are based.
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