The United States (U.S.) government announced this Monday it recovered $2,3 million in bitcoin of the ransom paid to hackers by Colonial Pipeline, after they launched one of the most disruptive cyber-attack in America’s history.
Firstly, it was Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco who broke the news, and Reuters reported it. She said that investigators had seized 63.7 bitcoins paid to hackers by Colonial Pipeline. Such number of bitcoins are valued at the $2,3 million mentioned above.
Secondly, the Justice Department backed the news by saying that the U.S. government had seized the “majority of the ransom paid by the company”.
Thirdly, according to Reuters, an affidavit filed on Monday said the FBI was in possession of a private key to unlock a bitcoin wallet that had received most of the funds. However, it remains unclear how the FBI got access to such key.
Moreover, a judge in San Francisco approved the taking of funds; from this “cryptocurrency address,” which the filing said was located in the Northern District of California.
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Bitcoin looses value, due to environmental footprint
In addition, the $2,3 million is just a fraction of what Colonial Pipeline had paid to hackers. The original ransom was for $5 million. The number of bitcoins seized lost value after it traded with a drop to around $34,000 in recent weeks after hitting a high of $63,000 in April.
Furthermore, as we have reported previously, the environmental footprint of the cryptocurrency has affected crypto’s value; as its polluting consequences are no longer in shape with a transitioning economy.
On the other hand, according to Reuters, seizures of bitcoin are not common; however, authorities have stepped up their expertise in tracking the flow of digital money; specially as ransomware has become a growing national security threat.
Finally, the White House urged corporate executives and business leaders to step up security measures; this, in order to protect against ransomware attacks; as they have become a big threat, especially for midstream assets and companies.