US officials seized $2.3m in crypto collected in a recent ransomware attack

By: Ali Raza
Ali Raza
Ali plays a key role in the cryptocurrency news team. He loves travelling during his spare time and enjoys playing cricket,… read more.
on Jun 8, 2021
  • Last month, DarkSide hackers conducted a ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline.
  • Criminals requested to be paid $4.4 million in crypto, but a special task force got involved early on.
  • US officials did not reveal what tools were used, only that they managed to “turn the tables on DarkSide."

The crypto industry has always had unfortunate ties to online criminals. In the early days of the crypto industry, criminals made up a large part of crypto users. However, the benefits of cryptocurrencies continue to inspire hackers to demand crypto payments to this day, particularly in ransomware attacks, such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.

On a positive note, it would appear that the authorities are becoming better at tracking down criminals who demand crypto payments in exchange for the information they stole. In fact, US officials recently announced that the government’s crypto task force recently seized as much as $2.3 million in crypto that was used to pay the ransom during the attack on the Colonial Pipeline system.

US task force seized half of the amount paid to the hackers

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This Monday, June 7th, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco stated that the task force managed to find and recapture millions worth of Bitcoin (BTC/USD) that was connected to DarkSide hackers, believed to be tied to Russia.

Originally, the ransom that was paid was $4.4 million, and the authorities managed to recover slightly over half of the amount by seizing 63.7 BTC, or $2.3 million at the time.

According to Monaco, this is the first major operation for the task force, which was charged to investigate ransomware attacks, disrupt them, if possible, and prosecute them. Monaco did note that special tools were used to track down and recover the funds, although it was not specified what exact method the task force used.

This particular case was likely a priority, as the DarkSide’s attack caused major fuel shortages in the US. The company was quick to notify the authorities of the issue, however, and so the task force managed to get involved very early on.

One thing of note was shared by the FBI Deputy Associate Director, Paul Abatte. Abatte stated that officials seized the funds from a Bitcoin wallet that was used to pay the ransom. However, without greater details, the exact method still remains unclear.

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