The Department of Justice is a joke.
Here’s their latest claim, brought to you by Conservative Treehouse:
Sketchy doesn’t begin to describe this DOJ narrative.
According to their press release the DOJ seized 63.7 Bitcoin (digital currency) through accessing a server in North Carolina used to enter the Bitcoin wallet password of the original hackers. However, the DOJ still claims the “hackers” were sophisticated Russian operatives. Meaning the “Russian Hackers” were so sophisticated they could hack a major gas pipeline, but not sophisticated enough to protect their wallet and hosted it online on a US based server?
DOJ […] approximately 63.7 bitcoins, representing the proceeds of the victim’s ransom payment, had been transferred to a specific address, for which the FBI has the “private key,” or the rough equivalent of a password needed to access assets accessible from the specific Bitcoin address. (read more)
Doesn’t this seem like either the private key wasn’t private, or the FBI was the original hacker of the pipeline?
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today announced that it has seized 63.7 bitcoins currently valued at approximately $2.3 million. These funds allegedly represent the proceeds of a May 8, ransom payment to individuals in a group known as DarkSide, which had targeted Colonial Pipeline, resulting in critical infrastructure being taken out of operation. The seizure warrant was authorized earlier today by the Honorable Laurel Beeler, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of California.
“Following the money remains one of the most basic, yet powerful tools we have,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco for the U.S. Department of Justice. “Ransom payments are the fuel that propels the digital extortion engine, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal enterprises. We will continue to target the entire ransomware ecosystem to disrupt and deter these attacks. Today’s announcements also demonstrate the value of early notification to law enforcement; we thank Colonial Pipeline for quickly notifying the FBI when they learned that they were targeted by DarkSide.”
“There is no place beyond the reach of the FBI to conceal illicit funds that will prevent us from imposing risk and consequences upon malicious cyber actors,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “We will continue to use all of our available resources and leverage our domestic and international partnerships to disrupt ransomware attacks and protect our private sector partners and the American public.” (full press release)
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Monday, “Earlier today, the Department of Justice has found and recaptured the majority of the ransom Colonial paid to the Darkside network in the wake of last month’s ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks are always unacceptable, but when they target critical infrastructure, we will spare no effort in our response.”
On May 8, Colonial Pipeline paid a ransom worth roughly $4.3 million in bitcoin to the Russia-based hacking group known as DarkSide, which had used malicious software to hold the company hostage. Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount told The Wall Street Journal that the company paid the pricey ransom because the company feared a prolonged shutdown and did not know how long it would take to restore operations.
The ransom allowed Colonial to restore fuel transport through its pipeline, which stretches from Texas to the Northeast and delivers 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.
The Colonial Pipeline hack was carried out by DarkSide actors, the FBI said in a brief statement days after the attack. The Justice Officials said investigators tracked the bitcoins on the cryptocurrency’s public ledger and identified the virtual currency account known as “wallet” used by DarkSide to collect payment.
Officials from the Justice Department said the FBI was able to track and recover 63.7 bitcoins, currently valued at about $2.3 million. The FBI was able to obtain the wallet’s private “key” enabling agents to seize the funds under a court order by a federal judge in the Northern District of California.
“The message today is we will bring all of our tools to bear, to go after these criminal networks, including the ecosystem and the illicit and the abuse, frankly, of the online infrastructure that they use in terms of the digital currency to perpetrate these schemes,” Deputy A.G. Monaco added.
The operation marks a rare ransom recovery for the critical infrastructure company that fell victim to the devastating cyberattack, as the “ransomware-as-a-service” business model booms. It marks the first recovery by the department’s new Ransomware Task Force.