Most of the bitcoin ransom paid last month to Russian hacking group DarkSide by Colonial Pipeline has been recovered by U.S. officials, the Justice Department said on Monday – but due to the bitcoin roller coaster’s value, the business will always suffer a big loss.
Investigators have recovered 85% of the 75 bitcoin ransom the energy company handed to cybercriminals, the DOJ said in a statement.
However, due to a decline in the price of bitcoin since the money was sent, the 63.7 coins recovered are now only worth around $ 2.3 million, which is just over the half of the value of the initial payment of $ 4.3 million.
“Today we have turned the tide on DarkSide,” Monaco said before calling on US businesses and government organizations to treat the threat of cyber attacks as a “clear and present danger”.
The ransomware attack on Colonial’s computer systems that began on May 7 shut down the United States’ largest fuel pipeline for five days, leading to gas shortages and panic buying in the Southeast.
Colonial officials previously said they took their pipeline system offline before the attack spread to its operating system and paid the ransom to get back online as soon as possible. The company did not have an immediate response to news of the seizure on Monday.
Monaco accused the Russian company DarkSide and its subsidiaries of “digitally stalking American companies for most of the last year and indiscriminately attacking victims including key players in our country’s infrastructure” .
“Pay attention now. Invest resources now, ”she said in a warning to businesses. “Failure to do so could be the difference between being safe now or being a victim later. “
The cryptocurrency recovery operation is the first undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Biden administration.
The FBI generally discourages the payment of a ransom, fearing that this could encourage further hacks. Monaco said on Monday that if businesses quickly alert law enforcement to such payments, authorities may be able to make similar foreclosures in the future.
With post wires