Colonial Pipeline CEO to testify before Congress next month


WASHINGTON — The chief executive of Colonial Pipeline is set to testify before Congress next month about a cyberattack that caused the company to halt operations for several days, leading to panic buying of gasoline in many communities.

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

The company, which supplies about 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, confirmed this week that it paid $4.4 million to the hackers in an effort to restart operations. Colonial said that after it learned of the May 7 ransomware attack, it took its pipeline system offline to do everything in its power to restart operations quickly and safely, and made the decision then to pay the ransom.

The hearing is part of the Oversight Committee’s ongoing focus on the security of the country’s critical infrastructure.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said in a statement that the attack exposed cybersecurity vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, the need for resilience in networks and the profitability of ransomware.

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