Health Care

Department of Justice officials discuss Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack

Department of Justice officials discuss Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack”

Colonial officials have said they took their pipeline system offline before the attack could spread to its operating system, and decided soon after to pay ransom of 75 bitcoin - then valued at roughly $4.4 million - in hopes of bringing itself back online as soon as it could.

Federal authorities have recovered more than $2 million in cryptocurrency paid in ransom to foreign hackers whose attack last month led to the shutdown of a major pipeline that provides almost half the East Coast's fuel, according to officials.

"Today we turned the tables on DarkSide".

Tanker trucks are parked near the entrance of Colonial Pipeline Company, May 12, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. The value of Bitcoin overall was much higher when the ransom was originally paid.

Abbate said the FBI has been pursuing an investigation into Darkside since past year and has to date identified more than 90 victims across multiple US critical infrastructure sectors.

The Bitcoin amount seized - 63.7, now valued at $2.3 million after the price of Bitcoin tumbled- amounted to 85% of the total ransom paid, which is the exact amount that the cryptocurrency-tracking firm Elliptic says it believes was the take of the affiliate who carried out the attack.

Blount said he wants the U.S. government to go after cyber criminals who have found a safe haven in Russian Federation, and use it as a base to attack private firms and organisations in the United States and other countries.

The FBI generally discourages the payment of ransom, fearing it could encourage additional hacks.

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But she added that this type of operation is a "significant undertaking" and "we can not guarantee, and we may not be able to do this, in every instance".

The bureau has been investigating DarkSide, a Russia-based criminal group, since a year ago, but he said it is only one of hundreds into which the FBI is looking. Plus, the combination of public attention and negative consequences following the Colonial attack led DarkSide to quite literally go dark, at least temporarily. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported the group made nearly $60 million in seven months, including $46 million in the first three months of this year.

The Colonial hack, and a subsequent attack last week on the world's largest meat supplier, forced the steadily growing threat of ransomware onto the front-burner for the Biden administration.

"Holding cyber criminals accountable and disrupting the ecosystem that allows them to operate is the best way to deter and defend against future attacks", he added. 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. "Law enforcement agencies need to broaden their approach beyond building cases against criminals who may be beyond the grasp of the law".

The Biden administration has been under increasing pressure to respond to the growing tide of ransomware attacks that have so far affected USA cities, hospitals, infrastructure and a range of small and large private businesses.

Sullivan said he would like the G-7 to come up with an "action plan" to increase resilience to attacks and deal with the cryptocurrency challenge. Earlier this month, a White House press official identified "expanding cryptocurrency analysis" as part of a broader focus on ransomware.

The U.S. government might have seized that second amount as well but not announced it yet, Robinson said.



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