An announcement has been made from the platform of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in which the agents of the FBI have revealed the seizing of Bitcoins worth US$ 2.3 Million. FBI informs that the funds actually belonged to Colonial Pipeline which had actually paid the same to hackers as ransomware payment. DAG Lisa Monaco pointed out that it was the FBI agents who had seized the majority of the stolen funds which were illegally acquired by ransomware artists from the notorious Darkside network.
It wasn’t long when Colonial Pipeline was being attacked by hackers from the Darkside network. The criminals attacked Colonial Pipeline with ransomware by breaching into the company’s servers and data. Once they gained access to the company’s servers, they then demanded payment for not causing any harm to the company’s data and servers. Colonial Pipeline then resorted to fulfill the demands of the criminals and paid what they had demanded from the company. Upon payment, the control of the company’s servers and data was given back to the company and the criminals took the money in Bitcoins.
It was reported at that time that the criminals had asked Colonial Pipeline to pay US$ 5 Million in Bitcoin. However, according to the CEO of the company, he had only authorized the payment of US$ 4.4 Million and not US$ 5 Million. The incident took place last month i.e. May 2021 and since then the local law enforcement agencies of the US were after the perpetrators. At top of the investigators, was the US’s federal agency FBI, who actually got their hands on some clues and was working on them.
Now it has been found out that the FBI has found private keys of at least 63 units of Bitcoin which were actually the proceeds of the crime. FBI also told that for locating these private keys, the agency also used special surveillance which is designed exclusively for surveilling blockchain. After gaining access to the private keys, the agency then seized approximately 63.7 Bitcoins worth around US$ 2.3 Million.
The seizure of the proceeds of crime was later confirmed by the Office of Deputy Attorney General. The DAG, Lisa Monaco, confirmed that the Bitcoins have been seized by the agents of the FBI and the seized Bitcoins belonged to Colonial Pipeline. She also said that the seized Bitcoins represent the majority of the funds extorted by ransomware artists from Colonial Pipeline. She also stated that the incidents of ransomware attacks have been increasing over time and corporate entities have been victimized. She warned that serious consequences will be faced by the perpetrators. In addition, law enforcement agencies have been tasked to bring down the culprits by apprehending them.
An affidavit to the extent of seizure of crime proceeds has also been filed by the relevant agent of the FBI.