The Justice Department has recovered the majority of the $4.4 million ransom that was paid to DarkSide hackers responsible for the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack which halted their operations last month.
“By going after the entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital extortion attacks — including criminal proceeds in the form of digital currency — we will continue to use all of our resources to increase the cost and consequences of ransomware and other cyber-based attacks,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco at a recent news conference.
The operation to seize cryptocurrency paid to the DarkSide hacker group is the first of its kind, which is being undertaken by a newly created specialised ransomware task force under the Biden administration Justice Department.
The case is a rare victory in the battle against ransomware, with 63.7 of the 75 Bitcoin paid having been ‘found and recaptured’. The recaptured amount is valued at $2.3 million, since the value of Bitcoin has fallen sharply since the ransom was paid.
The President and Chief Executive of Colonial Pipeline, Joseph Blount, is set to testify before congressional panels later this week. In a statement made on Monday, Blount said he was grateful for the FBI’s “swift work and professionalism” to hold hackers accountable and recover the ransom, and added that this “is the best way to deter and defend against future attacks of this nature.”
“The private sector also has an equally important role to play and we must continue to take cyber threats seriously and invest accordingly to harden our defences,” he added.