Speaker Tells Companies Not to Pay Ransoms

Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid $5 million ransom to restore service.

On Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California warned that private firms should reject demands of hackers for ransoms. Her warning came hours after reports appeared that the pipeline that brings fuel to much of the East Coast had paid almost $5 million in cryptocurrency to help restore service following a crippling ransomware attack.

Speaker Pelosi emphasized that she had no window into the internal management of operations at the Colonial Pipeline Co., a private firm. But when asked if firms should pay out such ransoms, she said,”No.” The House Speaker continued, “The point is that we don’t want people to think that there’s money in it for them to threaten the security of a critical infrastructure in our country.”

On Wednesday, President Biden issued an executive order designed to force private companies to install tougher cybersecurity protections as a condition of doing business with the federal government. Speaker Pelosi praised the move, but suggested Congress has a role in shoring up the nation’s vital infrastructure against future attacks.

“This cannot be open season for hackers who can make money off of a threat, even if they don’t go as far as crippling the entity that — as with Colonial, they did not. So it has to be subject to review,” she said. “I don’t know what the conversations were with the management of Colonial, but I do think that there is a governance role in how we protect our people and our economy from these hackers.”

Earlier, President Biden said he has “strong reason” to believe the pipeline hackers are in Russia, but he did not believe that the Russian government was involved.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For wisdom for Congress as they consider ways to help American businesses ward off hackers.
  • For government officials to have discernment as they interact with the private sector on cyber protections.
  • For those in the cybersecurity industry to increase the ability to prevent hacking.

Sources: The Hill, Financial Times


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