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Colonial Pipeline cyberattack Darkside Gas gas prices Hackers Intelwars pipeline President joe biden Russian hackers

Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom after cyberattack

After a debilitating and embarrassing cyberattack that crippled the supply chain for days, the Colonial Pipeline Co. buckled to the demands of hackers and paid nearly $5 million in ransom, Bloomberg reported Thursday afternoon.

NBC and CNBC confirmed the report by speaking to a source familiar with the situation and an anonymous U.S. official. Nicole Perlroth, cybersecurity reporter for the New York Times, reported Colonial paid the hackers 75 bitcoin on Monday.

“The company paid the hefty ransom in difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency within hours after the attack, underscoring the immense pressure faced by the Georgia-based operator to get gasoline and jet fuel flowing again to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard, those people said,” according to Bloomberg. “A third person familiar with the situation said U.S. government officials are aware that Colonial made the payment.”

Once the ransom was paid, the hackers provided Colonial Pipeline with a “decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network,” but the “tool was so slow that the company continued using its own backups to help restore the system,” one of the people familiar with the company’s efforts told Bloomberg.

A representative from the Colonial Pipeline Co. declined to comment on the ransom, but told Bloomberg that the company began to resume fuel shipments around 5 p.m. ET Wednesday.

“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,” Colonial’s website said in a Thursday update. “By mid-day today, we project that each market we service will be receiving product from our system.”

Thursday’s update that Colonial Pipeline paid the hefty ransom contradicts earlier reports that said the energy company had no intention of paying the ransom.

During a Thursday news conference, President Joe Biden was asked if he knew that Colonial paid the hackers a ransom, and he responded by saying, “No comment.”

Colonial became aware of the cyberattack around May 7 and immediately shut down its operations. The paralyzing cyberattack on the nation’s largest pipeline triggered a full-scale shutdown, which led to fuel shortages, panic buying, and several governors declaring a state of emergency. The 5,500-mile pipeline runs from Houston to Linden, New Jersey, and supplies about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard.

By Wednesday, the pipeline shutdown helped push the national average price of gasoline to $3.008 per gallon, according to the Automobile Association of America.

Earlier this week, the FBI named a criminal gang of hackers named “DarkSide” as the culprits of the devastating cyberattack. DarkSide, which specializes in digital extortion, is suspected of operating out of Eastern Europe or Russia. President Biden said the hacker group is likely based in Russia, but does not believe the Russian government is involved.

“We do not believe the Russian government was involved in this attack, but we do have strong reason to believe that the criminals who did the attack are living in Russia, that’s where it came from,” Biden said Thursday.

The DarkSide group described its actions as “apolitical” in a statement provided to CNBC.

“We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for our motives,” the group stated. “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.”

The FBI discourages organizations from paying a ransom in a ransomware attack because “paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee you or your organization will get any data back,” and it “also encourages perpetrators to target more victims and offers an incentive for others to get involved in this type of illegal activity.”

Anne Neuberger, the White House’s top cybersecurity official, would not say if companies should pony up ransom demands.

“Typically that’s a private sector decision,” Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies, told reporters at the White House on Monday. “We recognize that victims of cyberattacks often face a very difficult situation and they have to just balance often the cost-benefit when they have no choice with regards to paying a ransom. Colonial is a private company and we’ll defer information regarding their decision on paying a ransom to them.”

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Colonial Pipeline cyberattack Gas Intelwars Outage shortages state of emergency

Multiple governors declare state of emergency over gas shortages amid Colonial Pipeline outage

The governors of several Eastern states have declared states of emergencies over gas shortages as the Colonial Pipeline — which supplies 45% of all fuel to the East Coast — remains shut down after being hit with a cyberattack over the weekend.

But officials say the shortages are due to panic-buying, not an actual lack of gas.

What are the details?

On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) of North Carolina, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) of Georgia, and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) of Virginia all declared states of emergency as long lines at pumps and rising gas prices hit their states amid shortages and runs on fueling stations.

Kemp said in a statement:

“Today, I signed an executive order suspending the gas tax in Georgia to help with higher prices as a result of the Colonial cyberattack. We are working closely with Colonial and expect for them to recover by the end of the week,” Kemp said, adding, “Unfortunately, extensive media coverage has caused people to panic, which has resulted in higher gas prices.”

Newsweek reported that according to “energy data collection website Gas Buddy said that five states—Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia—collectively saw gasoline demand skyrocket more than 40 percent on Monday alone.”

On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a regional emergency declaration in response to the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which the FBI confirmed the next day “was a ransomware attack carried out by criminals belonging to the group known as DarkSide,” Fox Business reported.

The Washington Examiner noted that the states impacted by the hack include: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a media briefing Tuesday that the southeastern states are not experiencing shortages, but rather, are facing a “supply crunch.”

“It’s not that we have a gasoline shortage,” Granholm said, according to KXEL-AM. “It’s that we have this supply crunch, and that things will be back to normal soon, and that we’re asking people not to hoard.”

Granholm added, “We have gasoline. We just have to get it to the right places.”

The Secretary of Energy then conceded that getting the pipeline back up and running would be the “the best way” to solve the problem, as the DOT considers interim solutions such as the possibility of using rail to move gas into the southeast.

Critics were quick to note that President Joe Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline shortly after taking office.

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Climate policy Gas gas prices Intelwars Joe Biden John hofmeister Oil

Former Shell Oil president: Biden’s policies are responsible for skyrocketing gas prices

Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister said last week that President Joe Biden’s climate policies are responsible for soaring gas prices.

Former President Donald Trump predicted that Biden’s policies would force gas prices to increase because they target domestic oil production. Biden, instead, has said he will prioritize renewable energy and calls the far-left Green New Deal “a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”

What are the details?

Considering that OPEC has raised oil production, one may expect worldwide oil prices to drop.

But Hofmeister told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that Biden’s climate policies are offsetting the effects of the global oil market because they hamper domestic energy production.

“The reason gasoline is coming back up is we’ve been in a shutdown period for many of the refineries, and so that puts a squeeze on what’s available in terms of final product,” Hofmeister said.

“But there’s something else that’s going on that’s more subtle. What that is, is that the industry, the producers, are practicing serious capital discipline and they’re not roaring back to produce more oil. And also, they’re getting squeezed by the administration,” Hofmeister continued.

Hofmeister explained that Biden’s policies have created an environment of fear that drives up oil prices.

“So the ban on leasing — the prohibition on new leases from the Biden administration — that’s going to create a psychology in the industry of, ‘There’s going to be less available,’ and the psychology drives the pricing as well,” Hofmeister said.

“As long as we see this hostile administration, we’re going to have a problem with prices,” he added.


‘Hostile’ Biden administration will disturb gas prices: Ex-Shell Oil president

www.youtube.com

What has Biden done?

Gas prices have skyrocketed nearly 40 cents per gallon compared to last year. Even in the last month, prices have increased more than 30 cents per gallon, according to AAA.

Energy analyst Patricia Schouker recently said the spike should be partially attributed to energy markets rebounding following their crash last year, which was triggered by the pandemic.

“US oil and gas stocks, by far the worst performers of last year, are standing out as the best in 2021,” Schouker said. “A booming rally in oil markets has pushed crude prices to their highest levels since near the start of the coronavirus pandemic, powered by production curbs and recovering demand.”

However, Biden has taken aggressive steps to fulfill his promise to focus America’s energy future on renewable sources, not oil and coal.

One of his first actions as president included signing an executive order suspending “new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters,” the Associated Press reported.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) responded to Biden’s executive order with one of his own, directing Texas authorities to challenge Biden’s directive. The issue is personal for the Lone Star State because a significant portion of Texas’ economy is tied to oil production.

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Better choices Gas Intelwars John Kerry Oil solar panels Workers

John Kerry: Oil and gas workers put out of work will have ‘better choices’ like making solar panels

White House climate envoy John Kerry attempted to reassure fossil fuel workers concerned about losing their jobs under President Joe Biden’s climate change initiatives, saying those displaced could find “better choices” such as making solar panels.

What are the details?

During a press conference Wednesday on Biden’s sweeping climate initiatives, Kerry was asked, “There certainly are oil and gas industry workers who are watching you both, right, who will hear the message that the take-away to them is that they are seeing an end to their livelihoods. What do you say to them? Particularly those people who President Trump struck a chord with on the campaign trail when he promised to save their jobs.”

Kerry said Biden “has expressed in every comment he has made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner.”

The Washington Examiner reported that Kerry noted “coal has been losing out to cleaner, cheaper fuels in recent years” and “that jobs installing solar panels and wind turbines were among the fastest-growing before the coronavirus pandemic slowed that momentum.”

“What President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives,” Kerry continued, adding, “They could be the people who go to work to make the solar panels.”

The climate official went on to say:

“Unfortunately, workers have been fed a false narrative. They have been fed the notion somehow dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it’s not. What’s happening to them is happening because of other market forces already taking place.”

Also on Wednesday, Biden’s nominee for Energy Secretary, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granhold (D), acknowledged during a Senate confirmation hearing that some fossil fuel industry jobs “might be sacrificed” under Biden’s plans, The Daily Wire reported.

“I think the president’s plan of building back better…would create more jobs in energy, clean energy, than the jobs that might be sacrificed,” Granholm said in response to a question about Biden’s plan to suspend new drilling permits on federal lands.

She went on to add that she does not “want to see any jobs sacrificed.”

Anything else?

The Biden administration has faced criticism in recent days after one of the president’s numerous executive orders canceled the key contract for the Keystone XL pipeline—immediately leading to workers on the project being laid off.

Some unions that endorsed Biden in the 2020 election have since condemned him for revoking the pipeline construction permit.

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case communities Companies Corporations CORRUPTION Dark money donors electric Fascism Federal bribery Gas Government government is corrupt Headline News Homes Illinois Intelwars Larry Householder lobbyists Ohio smart meters utilities Votes Water Wayne Boich

More Ugly Details Emerge in Federal Bribery Case with Ohio Utility, Legislators, Lobbyists, Donors, etc.

This article was originally published by B.N. Frank at Activist Post. 

Activist Post has reported about recent legislator-utility bribery scandals in both Ohio and Illinois (see 123). Many don’t realize that similar bad behavior has also been pervasive for the last several years with the introduction, promotion, and installation of utility “Smart” Meters – electric, gas, and water.

Americans and people worldwide have been opposed to these 2-way wireless transmitting “Smart” Meters since they were first deployed. Their problems include fires, explosions, increased bills, and more (see 1234). They also DO NOT save meaningful amounts of energy – as originally promised. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped legislators, utility companies, and other ne’er-do-wells from continuing to promote and force their installation on homes and throughout communities.

Only time will tell if some of the same folks being investigated for what’s happening in Ohio used similar tactics for promoting and forcing the installation of First Energy “Smart” Meters in the state.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Householder case: ‘Company C’ CEO Wayne Boich gave cash to HB 6 ‘dark money’ groups

The leader of a Columbus-based firm that made its family fortune in Ohio coal provided $25,000 of the money used to open bank accounts for the “dark-money” nonprofit at the center of the House Bill 6 scandal, The Dispatch has learned.

Wayne M. Boich, chairman and chief executive officer of Boich Companies, also later gave $100,000 to a for-profit company that spent nearly $1.5 million to support former House Speaker Larry Householder’s Republican candidates in the 2018 general election.

Boich is the CEO of “Company C,” listed in a federal court criminal complaint charging Householder and four others with racketeering, The Dispatch confirmed with a source close to the investigation of those involved with the campaign for HB 6.

Officials of the company have no comment, Boich spokesman Mike Dawson said Tuesday.

The House Bill 6 pay-to-play and bribery case, as described in a federal complaint, involves Akron-based FirstEnergy and affiliates routing nearly $61 million to Generation Now, a dark money nonprofit, to secure passage of the bill and defend it against a referendum repeal effort.

The secret money helped ensure a $1 billion-plus electricity ratepayer bailout of two nuclear power plants then owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary and helped elect “Team Householder” House candidates to provide the votes needed to make him speaker, according to the charges.

Read full article

More from the Columbus Dispatch:

Householder directs a dirty campaign to save bailout as millions flow:

Activist Post Editor’s Note: This is the final part of four in a series examining the FBI’s criminal complaint against former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others described as the Householder Enterprise. All five men and the group Generation Now were indicted Thursday on federal racketeering charges. Facts in this series are based on public records, including the charging documents, and past and recent interviews with public officials and other sources.

Former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges asked Tyler Fehrman to coffee in September 2019.

The two apparently had become friends when Fehrman worked to help elect a couple of legislative candidates backed by now-former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

But in late 2019, Fehrman was working for the other side: He was the regional manager for the referendum campaign to overturn House Bill 6, known as a bailout for two nuclear power plants owned by a FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary.

And Borges hoped Fehrman would give him inside information to help the Householder “Enterprise” keep the referendum off the ballot, the FBI says in a criminal affidavit.

In exchange for the information, Borges offered to give Fehrman a substantial sum of money, the affidavit said.

The affidavit doesn’t identify Fehrman by name, but The Blade in Toledo revealed his identity and Fehrman later told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland what happened.

“Never did I ever think that Matt was going to put me in the position that he did,” Fehrman told The Plain Dealer. “One of the first things he told me was, ‘Dude, I don’t have a mortgage anymore. Like, I’m so taken care of. And we could do the same for you.’”

Read full article

Since utility companies have installed tens of millions of “Smart” Meters – it’s likely that you have them installed on your home and throughout your community. Good luck with that.

 

Activist Post reports regularly about “Smart” Meters and other unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

Share
Categories
case communities Companies Corporations CORRUPTION Dark money donors electric Fascism Federal bribery Gas Government government is corrupt Headline News Homes Illinois Intelwars Larry Householder lobbyists Ohio smart meters utilities Votes Water Wayne Boich

More Ugly Details Emerge in Federal Bribery Case with Ohio Utility, Legislators, Lobbyists, Donors, etc.

This article was originally published by B.N. Frank at Activist Post. 

Activist Post has reported about recent legislator-utility bribery scandals in both Ohio and Illinois (see 123). Many don’t realize that similar bad behavior has also been pervasive for the last several years with the introduction, promotion, and installation of utility “Smart” Meters – electric, gas, and water.

Americans and people worldwide have been opposed to these 2-way wireless transmitting “Smart” Meters since they were first deployed. Their problems include fires, explosions, increased bills, and more (see 1234). They also DO NOT save meaningful amounts of energy – as originally promised. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped legislators, utility companies, and other ne’er-do-wells from continuing to promote and force their installation on homes and throughout communities.

Only time will tell if some of the same folks being investigated for what’s happening in Ohio used similar tactics for promoting and forcing the installation of First Energy “Smart” Meters in the state.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Householder case: ‘Company C’ CEO Wayne Boich gave cash to HB 6 ‘dark money’ groups

The leader of a Columbus-based firm that made its family fortune in Ohio coal provided $25,000 of the money used to open bank accounts for the “dark-money” nonprofit at the center of the House Bill 6 scandal, The Dispatch has learned.

Wayne M. Boich, chairman and chief executive officer of Boich Companies, also later gave $100,000 to a for-profit company that spent nearly $1.5 million to support former House Speaker Larry Householder’s Republican candidates in the 2018 general election.

Boich is the CEO of “Company C,” listed in a federal court criminal complaint charging Householder and four others with racketeering, The Dispatch confirmed with a source close to the investigation of those involved with the campaign for HB 6.

Officials of the company have no comment, Boich spokesman Mike Dawson said Tuesday.

The House Bill 6 pay-to-play and bribery case, as described in a federal complaint, involves Akron-based FirstEnergy and affiliates routing nearly $61 million to Generation Now, a dark money nonprofit, to secure passage of the bill and defend it against a referendum repeal effort.

The secret money helped ensure a $1 billion-plus electricity ratepayer bailout of two nuclear power plants then owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary and helped elect “Team Householder” House candidates to provide the votes needed to make him speaker, according to the charges.

Read full article

More from the Columbus Dispatch:

Householder directs a dirty campaign to save bailout as millions flow:

Activist Post Editor’s Note: This is the final part of four in a series examining the FBI’s criminal complaint against former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others described as the Householder Enterprise. All five men and the group Generation Now were indicted Thursday on federal racketeering charges. Facts in this series are based on public records, including the charging documents, and past and recent interviews with public officials and other sources.

Former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges asked Tyler Fehrman to coffee in September 2019.

The two apparently had become friends when Fehrman worked to help elect a couple of legislative candidates backed by now-former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder.

But in late 2019, Fehrman was working for the other side: He was the regional manager for the referendum campaign to overturn House Bill 6, known as a bailout for two nuclear power plants owned by a FirstEnergy Corp. subsidiary.

And Borges hoped Fehrman would give him inside information to help the Householder “Enterprise” keep the referendum off the ballot, the FBI says in a criminal affidavit.

In exchange for the information, Borges offered to give Fehrman a substantial sum of money, the affidavit said.

The affidavit doesn’t identify Fehrman by name, but The Blade in Toledo revealed his identity and Fehrman later told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland what happened.

“Never did I ever think that Matt was going to put me in the position that he did,” Fehrman told The Plain Dealer. “One of the first things he told me was, ‘Dude, I don’t have a mortgage anymore. Like, I’m so taken care of. And we could do the same for you.’”

Read full article

Since utility companies have installed tens of millions of “Smart” Meters – it’s likely that you have them installed on your home and throughout your community. Good luck with that.

 

Activist Post reports regularly about “Smart” Meters and other unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

Share