The US recovers most of the $4.4 million crypto ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline | Cybercrime News
US intelligence officials have stated that preventing cyber attacks has become a national security priority, and US President Joe Biden plans to present these attacks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.
Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General, stated that the United States has recovered most of the $4.4 million cryptocurrency ransom paid to the perpetrators of the Colonial Pipeline Co. cyberattack last month, and the attack temporarily stopped the United States Fuel supply on the east coast.
“Ransomware attacks are always unacceptable, but when they target critical infrastructure, we will spare no effort to respond,” Monaco told reporters on Monday.
FBI Deputy Director Paul Abate said that law enforcement found a virtual wallet used to pay the ransom and then recovered the funds. He said that investigators have found that more than 90 companies have been affected by DarkSide, a cybercriminal organization associated with Russia and accused of being involved in pipeline hackers.
“Today, we turned the situation around on DarkSide,” Monaco said, while she called on the company to increase investment to protect its critical infrastructure and intellectual property. “For most of last year, DarkSide and its affiliates have been tracking U.S. companies digitally.”
The May ransomware attack caused fuel shortages at gas stations in multiple states, and even affected the operations of some airlines and airports. This is part of an increasing trend of such actions against critical infrastructure, which constituted an early test for President Joe Biden’s administration.
Colonial Pipeline eventually paid DarkSide to help it resume operations.
US intelligence and law enforcement officials said that preventing hacker attacks has become a national security priority, and this issue has exacerbated tensions between the US and Russia. White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki said that Biden plans to propose a hack when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.
Psaki said that the message that will be conveyed at the one-on-one meeting in Geneva on June 16 is that “responsible countries do not harbor ransomware criminals, and responsible countries must take decisive action against these ransomware networks.” Putin denied knowing or participating in ransomware attacks.
Brazil-based JBS SA, the world’s largest meat processor, restarted beef production last week after a ransomware attack forced it to cease global operations.