In an interview with the newspaper, Blount acknowledged publicly for the first time that the company had paid the ransom, saying it was an option he felt he had to exercise, given the stakes involved in a shutdown of such critical energy infrastructure. The Colonial Pipeline provides roughly 45 percent of the fuel for the East Coast, according to the company.
Blount said he reluctantly authorised the payment on 7 May after receiving the conditions from the cybercriminal outfit known as DarkSide.
Gas stations along the US East Coast ran out of fuel with lingering disruptions continuing a week after the pipeline reopened on 12 May.
DarkSide has turned ransomware into a profitable business, netting more than $90 million from 99 organisations infected with the group’s malware, the cyber monitoring group Elliptic said in a report on Tuesday.