Colonial Pipeline CEO will testify in June 9 hearing on cyberattack

"No Gas" signs are posted on the gas pumps of an Arlington, Virginia gas station which had been affected by the Colonial Pipeline Cyber Attack on Thursday, May 8, 2021. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI

May 22 (UPI) — The Committee of Homeland Security will hold a full committee hearing on June 9 with the Colonial Pipeline CEO testifying about a ransomware attack on the company’s networks.

Joseph Blount is scheduled to appear before the House Homeland Security Committee on June 9, when lawmakers will question him about the May 7 cybersecurity attack that U.S. officials have blamed on a criminal hacking gang in Russia.

The cyberattack caused the company, which supplies about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, to halt operations for several days, leading to gas shortages and panic buying of gasoline in many communities.

The Georgia-based company confirmed that it paid $4.4 million in ransom to DarkSide, a criminal organization based in Eastern Europe, in an effort to restart operations, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) announced on Thursday that the hearing is part of the committee’s ongoing focus on the cybersecurity of the country’s critical infrastructure.

“The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack and the related fuel shortages laid bare three urgent challenges facing the nation: cybersecurity vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, the need to build resilience into our networks, and the profitability of ransomware,” Thompson said in a statement released by the committee.

“To address these urgent challenges, Congress must have a complete understanding of what happened on Colonial Pipeline’s networks, how it made decisions related to network operations and ransom payments, and how it leveraged support from the Federal government and private sector.”

She went on to say that cyber attacks against critical infrastructure have cross-sector impacts, and that moving forward, the committee will “work to build a stronger understanding of cybersecurity vulnerabilities.”


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