Monday, June 7th, 2021
After attack on US pipeline
FBI tracks down part of the hacker’s ransom
“Follow the money” is a formula used by investigators when it comes to fighting white-collar crime. In the case of the hacked pipeline, this leads to success. The FBI can get back more than half of the amount paid. The Justice Department warns companies not to pay.
After the hacker attack on the largest gasoline pipeline in the United States, investigators recovered most of a ransom payment in the digital currency Bitcoin. It is said to be worth around $ 2.3 million. The FBI has tracked down a digital wallet that hackers allegedly used to collect a payment from the company concerned, FBI deputy director Paul Abbate said at a press conference.
The operator of the Colonial Pipeline had admitted in the “Wall Street Journal” at the end of May that it had authorized a payment of 4.4 million dollars. Colonial boss Joseph Blount explained the controversial decision by saying that the company was unsure about the extent of the system damage caused.
The company temporarily switches off the central pipeline completely
As a result of the hacker attack, Colonial had temporarily completely stopped operating the pipeline. About 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the US east coast runs through this pipeline. In parts of the USA there were gasoline shortages and sometimes turbulence at gas stations. The pipeline is now back on track, according to Colonial.
“It was an attack on one of our most important national infrastructures,” said Lisa Monaco from the US Department of Justice. The US government suspects hackers from the DarkSide group from Russia to be behind the crime. Both US authorities and IT security experts strongly advise companies not to pay ransom so as not to incentivize cyber criminals to blackmail them. There have been cases of companies paying before, but it is extremely rare to get the money back.