Colonial Pipeline Shells Out $5M in Extortion Payout, Report
Colonial Pipeline has disclosed that it resorted to paying the DarkSide ransomware gang the ransom demanded in return for a decryption key. The total transaction amounted to $5 million. Colonial Pipeline is one of the largest US fuel pipelines, and the attack caused a subsequent spike in fuel prices up and down the East Coast after the company was forced to shut down its four main lines. The firm was able to restart its pipeline operations after five days of shut down. According to reports published on Wednesday, the company had no intention of paying the ransom demand, however, that has since changed.
The alleged payout comes amid a global surge in ransomware attacks, with the same ransomware variant, DarkSide, launching an attack against an Irish healthcare agency earlier this week. Incidents are reportedly up 102% compared with the beginning of 2020, says CheckPoint Software. Kaspersky also released a report on the influx of ransomware attacks, stating that a number of high-profile ransomware groups emerged across the globe in 2020, a factor that is likely contributing to the increase.