The United States has recovered ransom payments made after a pipeline hack

Washington (AP) — The Justice Department has regained most of the multi-million dollar ransom paid to hackers after a cyberattack in which the operator of the largest fuel pipeline in the United States shut down last month, officials said. Said on Monday.

The operation to retrieve cryptocurrencies from a Russian-based hacker group was first carried out by a task force dedicated to ransomware created by the Biden administration’s Justice Department, and U.S. officials said last month that the world Targeted the important industries inside.

“By pursuing the entire ecosystem that promotes ransomware and digital currencies, we will continue to use all tools and resources to increase the cost and consequences of ransomware and other cyber-capable attacks.” , Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a press conference announcing the surgery on Monday.

The Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline supplies about half of the fuel consumed on the east coast, but on May 7 after a gang of criminal hackers known as the Dark Side broke into computer systems. The operation was temporarily stopped.

Colonial officials say they have decided to pay a ransom of about $ 4.4 million, hoping to take the pipeline system offline and bring it back online as soon as possible before the attack spreads to the operating system.

The 63.7 Bitcoin ransom is the currency of choice for hackers as it is perceived to be more difficult to track and is currently worth $ 2.3 million.

“The blackmailer will never see this money,” said Stephanie Hines, deputy federal prosecutor for the Northern District of California.

The FBI is usually refraining from paying ransom and is concerned that it may encourage additional hacking. What is important for the private sector, Monaco said, is that if companies respond quickly to law enforcement agencies, authorities may be able to implement similar foreclosures in the future.


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