Tuesday, 08 June 2021 22:29

Department of Justice Recovers $2.3M in Ransom from Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack

Written by Nyamekye Daniel, The Center Square


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The U.S. Department of Justice has recovered the majority of the ransom paid to the hackers who caused a major shutdown of a Georgia-based gas pipeline, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced June 7.

Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline reported a ransomware attack May 7 and paid 75 bitcoins, currently valued at $2.5 million, to ransomware-as-a-service network DarkSide Network. Department of Justice officials said June 7 they seized 63.7 bitcoins currently valued at about $2.3 million. Earlier reports said Colonial paid hackers $5 million.


"The sophisticated use of technology to hold businesses and even whole cities hostage for profit is a decidedly 21st-century challenge---but the old adage 'follow the money' still applies," Monaco said during a news briefing. "And that's exactly what we do."


A ransomware attack is when a computer system is corrupted by malicious software, better known as malware, for ransom.


Monaco said companies such as Darkside allow developers to sell or lease ransomware to use in attacks in return for a fee or share in the proceeds. States, cities and counties have been prime targets for cybercriminals, many of them spending thousands, even millions, of dollars to recover networks.


Monaco said DarkSide and its affiliates have stalked U.S. companies digitally and especially targeted those that play a key role in America's critical infrastructure.


Colonial Pipeline's 5,500-mile system is the largest refined products pipeline system in the U.S. It provides about 45% of the fuel on the East Coast between Texas and New York. The shutdown resulted in a spike in national gas prices and fuel shortages in states in the pipeline's network. 


Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order May 11 that...

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