Paying ransom is a 'private-sector decision' -WH

Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber, told reporters at a White House briefing that the FBI has been tracking the ransomware group blamed in the attack, DarkSide, since at least last October.

"Given the rise in ransomware, that is one area we are definitely looking at now to say what should be the government’s approach," Neuberger said.

A news release issued in the name of DarkSide said its goal was to make money and not create problems for society.

As to whether the U.S. government was advising Colonial on whether to pay a ransom, Neuberger said: "Typically that is a private-sector decision and the administration has not offered further advice at this time."