U.S. House Speaker Pelosi voices opposition on firms paying ransom after cyber attacks

May 13, 2021 11:40 AM EDT

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on infrastructure on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that ransom should not be paid by companies that are the victims of cyber attacks like the one suffered by Colonial Pipeline.

"We don't want people to think there's money in it to threaten the security of a critical infrastructure in our country," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference.

Bloomberg News reported that Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers following the cyberattack that shut operations of the largest fuel pipeline network in the United States.

Pelosi noted a "governance issue" in hardening U.S. facilities against 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 as with Colonial," she said.

Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, referred to the incident as "Russian-oriented. We don't know (whether it was) Putin-oriented," referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan;Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler)

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