The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, the U.S.’s biggest petroleum pipeline, has led to gas shortages in recent days as panic buying set in. But, as of this morning, the pipeline’s operator said “product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we surface.” This comes after ransom was reportedly paid to hackers.
The hackers, tied to a group known as DarkSide, are apparently led by an aspiring Dr. Evil, as they got almost all of five million dollars, according to Bloomberg’s sources.
Colonial Pipeline Co. paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday, contradicting reports earlier this week that the company had no intention of paying an extortion fee to help restore the country’s largest fuel pipeline, according to two people familiar with the transaction.
The company paid the hefty ransom in untraceable cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, underscoring the immense pressure faced by the Georgia-based operator to get gasoline and jet fuel flowing again to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard, those people said.
Once they received the payment, the hackers provided the operator with a decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network. The tool was so slow that the company continued using its own backups to help restore the system, one of the people familiar with the company’s efforts said.
A representative from Colonial declined to comment.
Meanwhile, according to Colonial Pipeline’s website:
Gas shortages in the south continue to be reported, but those seem to be easing. Still, Patrick De Haan, an analyst at GasBuddy who has been the best source of information on gas station outages, said Thursday it would be a bit longer before everything gets back to normal. It all depends on where you live:
As in most panics, this will all probably be forgotten about the very moment that it is over, but what a weird time to be alive.