Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

U.S. officials recover $2.3M in crypto from Colonial Pipeline ransom

Colonial Pipeline paid about $4.4m in Bitcoin to Dark Side hackers Colonial Pipeline paid about $4.4m in Bitcoin to Dark Side hackers
Cary Erickson | 08 June, 2021, 06:20

In recent weeks, computer-based criminals have stopped the operations of US schools and hospitals, published secret files and caused fuel shortages. They also operate in a decentralized network.

Blount is scheduled to appear before Congressional committees on 9 June, where he will provide further detail about the attack, including the firm's decision to pay a ransom to the attackers. The software these criminals use is called ransomware.

JBS reported that the attack originated from a criminal group likely based in Russian Federation.

"Following the money remains one of the most basic, yet powerful tools we have", Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said at a press briefing Monday afternoon.

The Colonial Pipeline attack was the latest in a series of ransomware assaults that has crippled government agencies, hospitals and businesses, including a major meat producer that was forced last week to idle plants, sparking concerns about potential increases in meat prices and shortages.

Perhaps the key was found on seized servers, or gifted by an angry insider, or handed over by a cooperative company used as part of the criminal infrastructure. "But the old adage "follow the money" still applies", said Monaco, during Monday's press conference.

The problem has become so acute that Biden will raise it when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva this month.

Monaco also used Monday's announcement to urge companies to take preemptive action. It plans to improve efforts to bring charges against those responsible and form diplomatic agreements with other countries.

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The answer is that there are numerous technological, legal and diplomatic hurdles to going after ransomware gangs.

But the difficulties of stopping ransomware gangs and other cybercriminals have always been clear. DarkSide's product is one of about 100 ransomware variants the FBI is investigating, Abbate said. Many of them are not really hiding. Evgeniy Bogachev, indicted almost a decade ago for what prosecutors say was a wave of cyber bank thefts, lives in a Russian resort town and "is known to enjoy boating" on the Black Sea, according to the FBI's wanted listing. The FBI says he "is known to enjoy boating" on the Black Sea. Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the USA conducted 231 offensive cyber operations in 2011.

Ransomware gangs can move around, do not need much equipment to operate and can hide their identities.

USA officials, including those in the Biden White House, have become increasingly vocal about ransomware - and cryptocurrency - in recent days.

According to Monaco, investigators discovered that the criminal group and its affiliates have been digitally stalking US companies and intentionally targeting victims that are "key players in our nation's critical infrastructure" for a better part of the previous year.

The entrance of Colonial Pipeline Co.in Charlotte, N.C. The company was the victim of a ransomware attack last month. A ransomware hack disrupted gas supplies in several states after the company was targeted.

The report, published by the nonprofit Institute for Security and Technology, estimated that almost 2,400 governments, healthcare facilities and schools were victims of ransomware attacks past year.

"We are not afraid of anyone", the hackers wrote in a follow-up post. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor. We want to hear from you.