On June 7, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement announcing that U.S. investigators had recovered millions of dollars of the ransom that had been paid by Colonial Pipeline during last month’s ransom attack. Officials from within the DOJ say that they were able to retrieve a majority of the money that was paid to the cyberterrorist group DarkSide.
In May, the hackers shut down the Colonial Pipeline, the largest pipeline in the United States, and sent gas prices soaring on the East Coast. Widespread fuel shortages were reported in several states, and panic buying was rampant. To end the attack, Colonial paid $4.4 million in cryptocurrency to the cyberterrorist group.
“The seizure announced today (Monday) was conducted as part of the department’s recently launched ransomware and digital extortion task force,” said Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General for the DOJ. “Which was established to investigate, disrupt and prosecute ransomware and digital extortion activity.”
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) June 7, 2021
Officials have since confirmed they recovered about $2.3 million of those funds. The FBI continues to discourage companies and individuals from paying these ransom demands, while the DOJ hopes that companies will continue to come forward and work with law enforcement to fix these situations.
“The message we are sending today is that if you come forward and work with law enforcement, we may be able to take the type of action that we took today to deprive the criminal actors of what they’re going after here, which is the proceeds of their criminal scheme,” Monaco said.
Joseph Blount, the CEO of Colonial Pipeline, will be testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on June 8 regarding the ransomware attack and the consequences of it.
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 8, 2021