New reports indicate that Colonial Pipeline decided to shut down the pipeline due to the inability to bill customers after their billing system was compromised during the cyber ransomware attack.
"The company halted operations because its billing system was compromised and they were concerned they wouldn't be able to figure out how much to bill customers for fuel they received," according to multiple CNN sources that have knowledge on the matter.
According to a CNN source, the Colonial Pipeline's billing system is imperative to the operation of the pipeline which is why getting it back up and running has taken quite sometime. "In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems," said a spokesperson with the Colonial Pipeline.
The Colonial Pipeline runs from Houston, Texas to Linden, New Jersey and the company’s proactive decision to shut it down left over 12,000 gas stations without gas, resulting in civilians panic buying and stockpiling the little gas that remained available.
Even though Colonial Pipeline announced they would not be paying the $5 million ransom to the hackers previously identified as 'DarkSide,' sources told Bloomberg that CP did in fact pay the ransom with the hope to retrieve the stolen information. Although sources said ransom was paid, those findings have yet to be confirmed by CP and details remain sparse; including when it was paid and how much of the ransom was paid.
The Colonial Pipeline has since restarted its operations after working alongside the Biden administration to get it back up and running, the company announced Wednesday.