Bitcoin News: The US Department of Justice said on Monday that federal officials had recovered $2.3 million in cryptocurrency paid to hackers who attacked the Colonial Pipeline. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said investigators seized 63.7 Bitcoins, currently worth about $2.3 million, paid for by Colonial Pipeline, which operates a network that provides almost half of the east coast’s fuel.
Last month, the company paid Russian hackers nearly $5 million in cryptocurrencies just hours after the May 7 attack that brought it to a halt. The company’s willingness to pay the ransom had ended the dire situation that had led to gasoline shortages and price fluctuations along the east coast.
After the hackers took the payment, we provided an operator with a decryption tool to restore the disabled computer network. The tool was so slow that the company used its own tools to reboot the system.
FBI deputy director Paul Abbate said investigators tracked Colonial Pipeline’s payment to a cryptocurrency wallet used by the Russian-based hacking group DarkSide, linked to the attack. “Using law enforcement, the aggrieved party’s funds were confiscated from this wallet and DarkSide actors were prevented from using them,” Abbate said at a Justice Department press conference.
According to court documents, the Bitcoin wallet was hosted on a network located in Northern California. This made it easier for law enforcement to retrieve the funds than to hide the money in an overseas network.
Bitcoin ransom incidents increased
The FBI doesn’t recommend businesses pay ransomware to hackers, saying there’s no guarantee they’ll always be able to rectify the situation. The bureau also said that making payments gives hackers an incentive to continue terrorizing businesses. The amount paid by ransomware victims increased by 311% to nearly $350 million in 2020, according to a report by the Security and Technology Institute Ransomware Task Force in April.