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Ransomware attack funds recovered

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announces the recovery of the ransom paid to hackers during a news conference Monday. Associated Press/ Photo by Jonathan Ernst

Ransomware attack funds recovered

The Justice Department recovered most of the multimillion-dollar ransom Colonial Pipeline paid Russian-based hackers last month, officials said. The attack shut down operations at the nation’s largest fuel pipeline and caused gas shortages all along the East Coast.

How did they do it? The recovery operation was a first for the new, specialized ransomware task force created by Biden’s Justice Department to counter the increasing threat of criminal cyber gangs who target U.S. corporations. The task force seized the cryptocurrency paid to the hacker group by identifying a virtual currency wallet used by the group. Colonial Pipeline paid 75 bitcoins—then worth $4.5 million—to regain access to its systems. The Justice Department retrieved 85 percent of the ransom, or 63.7 Bitcoins, which due to the fluctuations in bitcoin value is now only worth $2.3 million.

Dig deeper: Read Kent Covington’s report in The Sift on how the pipeline shutdown affected fuel supply.

Leigh Jones

Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.


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