Department of Justice seizes millions in ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline

The Justice Department announced on Monday that it has successfully seized millions of dollars in cryptocurrency Colonial Pipeline paid to the cyber criminal group ‘DarkSide,’ following last month’s ransomware attack that led the pipeline to briefly shut down its operations.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a news conference: “Earlier today, the Department of Justice has found and recaptured the majority of the ransom Colonial paid to the DarkSide network in the wake of last month’s ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks are always unacceptable — but when they target critical infrastructure, we will spare no effort in our response. Today, we turned the tables on DarkSide. By going after the entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital extortion attacks, including criminal proceeds in the form of digital currency, we will continue to use all of our tools, and all of our resources to increase the cost and the consequences of ransomware attacks and other cyber-enabled attacks.”

Colonial transports approximately 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. The company was up and running within days, but the slowdown meant delays still remained in the aftermath of the attack.  In May, the company’s CEO said last month in an interview that he authorized a payment of $4.3 million to the DarkSide group only hours after the company learned of the attack because executives were not sure how long it might take to bring the pipeline back on.  DOJ officials said on Monday that the full amount of the seizure from DarkSide was 63.7 bitcoins valued at approximately $2.3 million.

Editorial credit: MDart10 / Shutterstock.com

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