Colonial Pipeline CEO Faces Liability for Cyber Attack

By Daniel Hale, PhD

May 30, 2021, 1:30pm EDT

ALABAMA--The United States’ largest fuel pipeline was crippled after a cybersecurity attack in May 2021. This incident comes on the heels of a proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren that creates criminal liability for what she describes as “any corporate executive who negligently oversees a company causing severe harm to U.S. families.”  This bill proposes the possibility of jail time for execs of companies that fail to protect consumers from certain kinds of data breaches. The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack forced all pipeline operations to stop. An organized crime group known as DarkSide is thought by U.S. officials to be responsible for the attack. 


  • Colonial Pipeline daily delivers millions of gallons of fuel each hour in a pipeline that stretches from Louisiana to New Jersey.
  • The cyberattack forced the company to shut down 5,500 miles of pipeline, triggering widespread fuel shortages in the Southeast and panic buying.
  • A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told NBC that Colonial paid almost $5 million as a ransom to the cybercriminal.
  • Whether insurance will cover the loss will depend on Colonial’s due diligence that will be revealed following an investigation into the incident.

 “The parties who were damaged, how they were damaged and what precautions Colonial can prove they took to prevent such damage will determine the extent of personal liability on the part of Colonial Pipeline Co. CEO, Joseph Blount.” says TEMVI managing director Thomas View.  

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