The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it has recovered $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency from the Colonial Pipeline Co. ransomware attack.
A large chunk of the money acquired by the hackers is recovered
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said investigators seized 63.7 Bitcoins, now worth about $2.3 million, paid for by Colonial after last month’s hack that led to massive shortages at gas stations along the East Coast.
The $2.3 million is a large chunk of the money paid to the ransomware hackers. In total, Colonial Pipeline paid $4.4 million in Bitcoin to the hackers.
Colonial Pipeline Co. CEO Joseph Blount said in an interview published last month that the company met the $4.4 million ransom demand because executives didn’t know the extent of the hacking attack and how long it would take to restore operations. Behind the scenes, the company had taken early steps to notify the FBI and followed instructions that helped investigators track the payment to a cryptocurrency wallet used by the hackers.
Blockchain technology makes it easier to track lost funds
Despite criticism that Bitcoin makes it easier for criminals to attack businesses with ransomware, the 63.7 Bitcoins secured also shows that the open-source information makes it easy to track transactions and wallets on the blockchain. The blockchain explorer pages are far more transparent and easier to navigate through than trying to track cash.
Ransomware attacks continue to be a problem in the U.S.
In recent weeks, cybercriminals have increasingly targeted organizations that play an important role in much of the U.S. economy. The impact of these attacks shows how hackers are capable of more than expected.