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Colonial Pipeline CEO claims he paid ransom to hackers ‘for the country’

Mount Equity Group Tokyo, Japan > News > Business > Colonial Pipeline CEO claims he paid ransom to hackers ‘for the country’

The CEO of Colonial Pipeline claims he ignored FBI guidance and forked over a $4.4 million ransom to the hacking group DarkSide because “it was the right thing to do for the country.”

Joseph Blount, the chief executive of Colonial Pipeline, said in an interview published Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal that he decided to pay the ransom the same day the company learned of the hacking.

“I know that’s a highly controversial decision,” Blount told the Journal in what were his first public remarks since the hack. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this.”

The FBI has long advised companies not to pay when hit by ransomware, a malicious software that locks up a user’s data. In the attacks, the hackers demand a ransom to unlock or return the affected data. 

The FBI says that paying ransom creates incentives for more attacks and supports criminal gangs. 

Colonial president and CEO Joe Blount ignored FBI guidance and paid the hackers.Colonial Pipeline Co. Facebook

“The FBI does not support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack,” the FBI’s website says plainly. “It [paying