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Pipeline CEO Defends Paying Ransom Amid Cyberattack


A pipeline company CEO on Tuesday defended his decisions to abruptly halt fuel distribution for much of the East Coast and pay millions to a criminal gang in Russia as he faced down one of the most disruptive ransomware attacks in U.S. history.

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount said he had no choice, telling senators uneasy with his actions that he feared far worse consequences given the uncertainty the company was confronting as the attack unfolded last month.

“I know how critical our pipeline is to the country,” Blount said, “and I put the interests of the country first.”

His testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee on the May 7 cyberattack provided a rare window into the dilemma faced by the private sector amid a storm of ransomware attacks in which overseas hackers breach a company’s network and encrypt their data, demanding a ransom to release it ...


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