“No Comment”: Biden Refuses To Answer Critical Cyberattack Question

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"P20210310AS-1736" (United States government work) by The White House

President Biden refused to answer questions about the ransom payment that was made to get the Colonial pipeline back online.

On Thursday morning United Refining Company chairman John Catsimatidis told Fox News that “the payments have been made to the terrorist” in order to get Colonial Pipeline back online. Catsimatidis also added, “I understand from my sources that $4 million was paid.” 


When Biden was asked by reporters if he knows about the ransom payment that was made in relation to the disruption of Colonial Pipeline supply. Biden merely answered he had “no comment” about this. 

 

The 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline that transports over 100 million gallons of fuel every day was taken offline by a Russian hacking group called DarkSide last Friday and the hackers demanded a $100 million ransom to get the pipeline back online. 

As a result, 68% of the gas stations located in North Carolina has reported fuel outages. Roughly half of the gas stations in Georgia, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Virginia also reported outages. 

Then on Thursday, Bloomberg News reported that the Colonial has paid hackers nearly $5 million, citing two people who are familiar with the transaction. 

The chairman of the United Refining Company and CEO John Catsimatidis weighs in on the Cyberattack that happened as well as the price hike that happened in various industries as a result of the inflation of gasoline. Catsimatidis also added that the pipeline “will be flowing by Monday at the latest.”

According to the reports by Bloomberg, after the payment was made, the hackers gave the pipeline operator a decrypting tool to restore the network. 

The ransomware hackers that are responsible for the Colonial Pipeline attack claim that the act was driven by money and not politics. They also insist that it have a charitable purpose for their acts. 

“We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government [sic] and look for other our motives,” the group said in its statement.

However, after the group proclaimed that it is about the money, they abandoned their claim of ostensible goodwill and said, “Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society. From today we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”

In the next few days, a restarting of the pipeline will be made to help restore the flow of gasoline on the Eastern part of the United States where fuel shortages have been seen.

The DarkSide ransomware strain debuted in the summer of 2020. According to InfoSecurity Magazine, they recently made an announcement, naming it DarkSide 2.0. 

The magazine reported, “They claim that the Windows version of Darkside 2.0 encrypts files faster than any other ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) and is twice as speedy as the previous iteration.”

the same as other ransomware variants, the DarkSide is involved in double extortion. What this means is that the criminals are not only asking for ransom on the hacked data but they also threaten to make said data public if a separate ransom demand has not been paid.