Colonial Pipeline CEO: Industry Needs to Join Fight Against Cybercrime

Colonial Pipeline Co. President and CEO Joseph Blount praised federal investigators and urged private industry to cooperate in fighting cybercrime in a June 7 statement following  news by the U.S. Department of Justice that law enforcement had recovered DarkSide cryptocurrency funds.

Colonial paid more than $4 million in cryptocurrency to a Russian hacking collective known as DarkSide, according to news reports. The DOJ announced this week that it had recovered some of the ransom; the recovered amount was some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency, according to news reports.

Blount said, “When Colonial was attacked on May 7, we quietly and quickly contacted the local FBI field offices in Atlanta and San Francisco, and prosecutors in Northern California and Washington D.C. to share with them what we knew at that time. The Department of Justice and FBI were instrumental in helping us to understand the threat actor and their tactics. Their efforts to hold these criminals accountable and bring them to justice are commendable.

“As our investigation into this event continues, Colonial will continue its transparency in sharing intelligence and learnings with the FBI and other federal agencies. Our goal is to help our peers in the critical infrastructure space strengthen their cyber defenses and to collaborate across industry so that we can thwart these types of attacks before they happen. Together, through intelligence sharing and lessons learned, we can work to better protect our nation, its people, and our most critical assets.”

Colonial Pipeline Co., headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, connects refineries ­– primarily located in the Gulf Coast ­– with customers and markets throughout the Southern and Eastern United States through a pipeline system that spans more than 5,500 miles. The company delivers refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and fuel for the U.S. military. More information about Colonial is available at www.colpipe.com.

“The FBI is the premier law enforcement agency in the world and we are grateful for their swift work and professionalism in responding to this event,” Blount said in his statement. “Holding cyber criminals accountable and disrupting the ecosystem that allows them to operate is the best way to deter and defend against future attacks of this nature. The private sector also has an equally important role to play and we must continue to take cyber threats seriously and invest accordingly to harden our defenses.”

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