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$2.3M in BTC Seized by US DOJ From Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Attack

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • The United States Department of Justice recovers 63.7 BTC from hackers.
  • DarkSide was the hacker group behind the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.
  • Colonial Pipeline was attacked in early May 2021.
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The U.S. Department of Justice has recovered $2.3 million in bitcoin from the DarkSide ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline infrastructure.

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that it has recovered 63.7 BTC, about $2.3 million, from the recent ransomware extortion targeting the Colonial Pipeline. This represents some of the ransom that the group demanded. The notice states that the law enforcement was able to track the transfers to a specific address, to which the FBI had the private key.

Hacking group DarkSide targeted the Colonial Pipeline infrastructure with ransomware, putting critical services out of operation. The news immediately stirred concerns about cybersecurity and the use of cryptocurrencies in asking for ransom.

The Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force coordinated its efforts with other agencies to recover the assets. This law enforcement division was created to combat the growing number of ransomware and digital extortion attacks.

The Colonial Pipeline was attacked in early May 2021, and the group asked for a ransom of $5 million. Initially, the firm that owns the pipeline said that it would not pay the ransom. However, it changed its tack after no other solutions could be found. The U.S. recommends not meeting ransom demands, but officials of the company were forced to go through with it after it began seriously affecting operations.

The payment was made only hours after the attack. The DarkSide group is believed to be located in Russia or Eastern Europe and has carried out other attacks in the past. Experts believe that the group stepped on the wrong toes, not expecting such a swift and threatening response from the U.S. government.

DarkSide has an odd reputation in the cybersecurity world. It has said that it aims to make the world a better place and has even donated ransoms to charities around the world in the past.

Biden to address ransomware issue at G7 summit

The U.S. government is currently stepping up its regulatory efforts as cryptocurrencies become more prevalent in mainstream society. Besides cybersecurity threats paid in crypto, the issues of money laundering, taxation, transaction traceability, and investor protection all stand as major worries.

Some headlines have been floating that President Joe Biden will bring up the matter of cryptocurrencies at the upcoming G7 summit. Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking to reporters at The White House, said that ransomware attacks related to critical infrastructure is going to be a priority.

Other individuals in key governmental positions are also looking into how to regulate the asset class, including SEC Chairman Gary Gensler and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. On the plus side, this brings more regulatory clarity, but investors are wary that there could also be some tough restrictions.

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Rahul Nambiampurath
Rahul Nambiampurath's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014 when he stumbled upon Satoshi's Bitcoin whitepaper. With a bachelor's degree in Commerce and an MBA in Finance from Sikkim Manipal University, he was among the few that first recognized the sheer untapped potential of decentralized technologies. Since then, he has helped DeFi platforms like Balancer and Sidus Heroes — a web3 metaverse — as well as CEXs like Bitso (Mexico's biggest) and Overbit to reach new heights with his...
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