U.S FBI seizes wallet to recover 75 Bitcoins that Colonial Pipeline paid for DarkSide ransomware attack but only half the amount recuperated

DarkSide Ransomware Colonial Pipeline DoJ FBI
The FBI recovers ransom in Bitcoin that Colonial Pipeline paid to DarkSide Ransomware gang. Pic credit: Christiaan Colen/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has recovered the ransom in Bitcoins that Colonial Pipeline paid to the DarkSide ransomware operation. However, the amount recuperated is roughly half of what the company initially coughed up to bring its operations back online.

A U.S. FBI agent confirmed to the DoJ that the agency has successfully seized control of a hardware wallet. The wallet belonged to the DarkSide ransomware operation. The wallet contained the majority of Bitcoins that Colonial Pipeline paid to secure a decryption key.

U.S. forces DarkSide Ransomware group to shut down their operation while FBI goes after cryptocurrencies paid as ransom:

The DarkSide Ransomware went after one of the most important companies in the United States. As expected, it is now on the run from the law. Earlier this month, the creators of the ransomware successfully crippled Colonial Pipeline, forcing them to shut down their fuel pipeline operation.

Colonial Pipeline paid a $4.4 million ransom to the DarkSide ransomware operation. In return, the gang sent a decryption key. The company used the decryption key to quickly bring their systems back online.

Sensing the increasing danger to critical, national infrastructure, including utilities, transportation, healthcare, etc. the U.S. law enforcement has begun hunting down and shutting operations of ransomware creators.

Faced with increased scrutiny by the US government and law enforcement, the DarkSide ransomware gang reportedly shut down its operation. In addition to shutting down their operations, the FBI also claims it recovered a hardware wallet that contained the ransom that Colonial Pipeline paid to the DarkSide gang.

The U.S. DoJ recovered only a portion of the ransom payment that Colonial Pipeline paid:

In a press conference, the US Department of Justice announced that the FBI had seized a cryptocurrency wallet that DarkSide ransomware used. The wallet contained the ransom payment from Colonial Pipeline.

An FBI agent stated that law enforcement gained control of a private key belonging to a DarkSide wallet holding the Colonial Pipeline ransom payment. Needless to mention, the company had paid the ransom in Bitcoins.

Having physical access to a hardware wallet essentially grants the FBI control over the funds that are within the same. Using the same, the FBI reportedly recovered 63.7 Bitcoins of approximately 75 Bitcoins.

It is interesting to note that although the FBI recovered 63.7 Bitcoins or about 85 percent of the ransom, the agency can recover only $2.26 Million of the $4.4 Million that Colonial Pipeline paid to DarkSide.

Owing to a devasting downward trend in all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin too lost a lot of value recently. The cryptocurrency is gradually regaining its value. If the FBI doesn’t reconvert the recovered Bitcoin into U.S. dollars, they might be able to regain a lot more in dollar value.

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