The Ministry of Justice today confirmed that it has seized 63.7 bitcoins, currently worth 2.3 million U.S. dollars, allegedly paid to the DarkSide ransomware group on May 8.
DarkSide targeted the Colonial Pipeline in an attack last month, causing the company to run 5,500 miles of pipeline between Texas and New Jersey, temporarily shutting down some of its infrastructure. The US Department of Justice said in a press release that Colonial Pipeline reported the attack to the FBI, stating that its computer network was accessed by the DarkSide Group and had received and paid a ransom demand of approximately 75 bitcoins.
By looking at the Bitcoin public ledger, law enforcement agencies were able to track multiple transfers of Bitcoin and identify approximately 63.7 Bitcoins, which represented the proceeds of the ransom payment and were transferred to a specific address. Officials report that the FBI has the private keys needed to access assets from this Bitcoin address.
“Tracking funds is still one of the most basic but powerful tools we have,” Lisa O Monaco, deputy attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement. “Ransom payment is the fuel that drives the digital blackmail engine. Today’s announcement indicates that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal companies.”
Read the full DOJ release for more details.
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