Paying cyber ransoms sets a bad precedent but happens often

A storage tank stands at the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Ala., on on Sept. 19, 2016. Foto: Bloomberg/Luke Sharrett

The U.S. government's fight to choke off ransom payments collected by hackers hit a major snag Thursday, following news that Colonial Pipeline Co. paid a hefty sum to hackers who for several days this week effectively shut down the country's largest fuel pipeline and created gas shortages along the East Coast.

The decision went against FBI and Treasury Department warnings that such payouts will only spread pain down the line by encouraging more hacking, raising questions around the ethics of paying the ransoms...

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