US has recovered ransom payment made after pipeline hack

08 Juin, 2021, 06:22 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Colonial Pipeline paid about $4.4m in Bitcoin to Dark Side hackers

The US Justice Department has recovered part of the ransom Colonial Pipeline paid last month to regain access to its computer systems after it was locked out of them by " ransomware gang Darkside.

Asked whether industry should take the FBI's operation as a sign that law enforcement can recover payments, and therefore make them a more plausible solution, Monaco said, "We cannot guarantee - and we may not be able to do this in every instance". "This was an attack against some of our most critical infrastructure".

A bagged nozzle at a pump notifies motorists that it no longer has fuel after a cyberattack crippled the biggest fuel pipeline in the country, run by Colonial Pipeline, in Chapel Hill, N.C., on May 12, 2021.

On May 7, the DarkSide ransomware gang sprang its attack against Colonial, which ultimately paid 75 Bitcoin (~$4.4 million) to its tormentors. "This decision was not made lightly, however, one that had to be made. I will admit that I wasn't comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this". However, it took nearly a week to decrypt the data encrypted with the hacked key and restart the fuel transfer.

Victims worldwide paid at least $412 million in ransom past year, according to Chainalysis, a firm that tracks cryptocurrency payments. Sometimes stolen data is more valuable to ransomware criminals than the leverage they get from a network shell, because some victims are reluctant to see their confidential information published online.

The 63.7 bitcoin were the affiliate's share, Robinson said. DarkSide's product is one of about 100 ransomware variants the FBI is investigating, Abbate said.

Federal investigators said that tracking a virtual-currency wallet helped to lead to reclamation of funds paid by Colonial.

"Servers were seized, money of advertisers and founders was transferred to an unknown account", read the farewell message.

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"The sophisticated use of technology to hold businesses and even whole cities hostage for profit is decidedly a 21st century challenge", Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, announcing the recovery on Monday afternoon.

Colonial Pipeline carries about 45 per cent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.

The Justice Department in April created a ransomware and digital extortion task force.

Reiner said those limits do not mean the United States can not still make progress against defeating ransomware, comparing it with America's ability to degrade the terrorist group al-Qaida while not capturing its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over after US troops killed Osama bin Laden. The average such payment topped $300,000.

The Biden administration is seeking to find ways to combat the rise.

USA intelligence and law enforcement officials say stopping hacking attacks has become a national security priority, and the issue has raised tensions between the US and Russian Federation.

The escalating havoc caused by ransomware gangs raises an obvious question: Why has the United States, believed to have the world's greatest cyber capabilities, looked so powerless to protect its citizens from these kind of criminals operating with near impunity out of Russian Federation and allied countries? The Justice Department said it's elevating investigations of ransomware attacks to a similar priority as terrorism, according to a report from Reuters last week. They noted that is a conservative analysis, since many victims do not report their ransom payments.

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