Colonial Pipeline Co. reportedly paid Eastern European hackers almost $5 million in ransom on Friday to free up its data system, after it had shut its East Coast pipeline system.
Two knowledgeable sources provided the information to Bloomberg. Their account conflicted with reports earlier this week that the company wouldn’t pay ransom to the hackers.
The payment was made in the form of untraceable cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, which had led Colonial to close its pipeline for safety, the sources said.
Once the hackers got their money, they gave Colonial a decrypting tool to restore its frozen computer network, the sources said. The tool acted slowly, so the company continued using its own backups to restore the system, one of the sources said.
Colonial Pipeline said Thursday morning that product delivery has resumed in most of its markets.
“Colonial Pipeline has made substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system and can report that product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service,” the company said Thursday on its website.
“By midday today, we project that each market we service will be receiving product from our system.” Colonial serves almost all of the U.S. East Coast.
West Texas Intermediate crude recently traded at $63.9, down 3.16%.
The pipeline shutdown sent gasoline prices higher. Retail gas prices average $3.03 a gallon Thursday, up from $3.01 Wednesday and $2.94 a week earlier, according to AAA.
On Wednesday, Colonial said that it had begun reopening its pipeline. “It will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” the company said.