US seizes $2.3 million from hackers who blackmailed Colonial Pipeline

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Muhammad Khabisa / Anatolia

The US Department of Justice announced the confiscation of $2.3 million from hackers who blackmailed Colonial Pipeline, the operator of the largest fuel-derivative pipeline in the United States.

Last month, the systems of the derivatives provider to the US East Coast states were subjected to a cyber attack by hackers known as “DarkSide”, which prompted it to stop its operations for several days, and pay a ransom in virtual currency worth 5 million dollars.

The Justice Department said in a statement late Monday that it had seized 63.7 bitcoins, currently valued at about $2.3 million, from a hacker’s digital wallet.

“One of the most important tools we have remains one of the most important tools we have, ransom payments are the fuel that drives the digital extortion engine,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O Monaco at the US Department of Justice.

The US official did not say how to access one of the digital wallets of the “DarkSide” group, or how to hack it, but added, “The United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more expensive and less profitable for criminal companies.”

While FBI Deputy Director Paul Abate said: “There is no place beyond the reach of the FBI to hide illicit funds that will prevent us from imposing risks and consequences on cyber gangs.”

Last month, Colonial Pipeline told the FBI that its computer network had been accessed by DarkSide and that DarkSide had received a ransom it requested from the company for nearly 75 bitcoins.

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