The Department of Justice announced today (Jun 7) that it has recovered 63.7 bitcoins paid to the group of individuals who call themselves DarkSide. Last month, DarkSide hacked the Colonial Pipeline with ransomware, leading to a gas shortage panic.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco for the Department of Justice says,
"Following the money remains one of the most basic, yet powerful tools we have. Ransom payments are the fuel that propels the digital extortion engine, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal enterprises. We will continue to target the entire ransomware ecosystem to disrupt and deter these attacks. Today’s announcements also demonstrate the value of early notification to law enforcement; we thank Colonial Pipeline for quickly notifying the FBI when they learned that they were targeted by DarkSide."
FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate:
“There is no place beyond the reach of the FBI to conceal illicit funds that will prevent us from imposing risk and consequences upon malicious cyber actors. We will continue to use all of our available resources and leverage our domestic and international partnerships to disrupt ransomware attacks and protect our private sector partners and the American public.”
On May 7, Colonial Pipeline reported to the FBI that DarkSide had accessed its computer network and had taken part of its infrastructures out of operation. The group was reportedly paid 75 bitcoins in a ransom, worth roughly $3.75M at the time. The FBI says they were able to trace multiple transfers amounting to 63.7 bitcoins to a specific address tied to the ransom and seized the currency.