A sign warns consumers of the availability of gasoline at a RaceTrac gas station on May 11, 2021 in Smyrna, Georgia.
Elijah Nouvelage | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – US law enforcement officials announced Monday that they were able to retrieve some of the money paid to a cyber criminal group involved in the crippling ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, according to NBC News.
Justice Department officials are due to discuss the operation at a press conference at 3:15 p.m. ET.
Last month, a cyber criminal group called DarkSide launched a widespread ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline. The cyberattack forced the company to shut down an American fuel pipeline approximately 5,500 miles long, causing a disruption to fuel supplies on the east coast and a gas shortage in the southeast.
Ransomware attacks involve malware that encrypts files on a device or network, causing the system to become inoperable. Criminals behind such cyberattacks usually demand a ransom in exchange for releasing data.
Colonial Pipeline paid the hackers a ransom of nearly $ 5 million, a source familiar with the situation, CNBC confirmed. It wasn’t immediately clear when the transaction took place.
Following the DarkSide attack, President Joe Biden told reporters that the US currently has no information linking the group’s ransomware attack to the Russian government. However, the attack is said to have originated from a criminal organization in Russia.
“So far, there is no evidence from our intelligence officials that Russia is involved, although there is evidence that the actor’s ransomware is located in Russia. You have a certain responsibility to deal with it, ”Biden said on May 10th. He added that he discussed the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two heads of state will meet in Geneva on June 16.
The Kremlin rejects claims that it launched cyberattacks against the United States.
“The message from the president will be that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals and that responsible countries must act decisively against these ransomware networks,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters ahead of the summit.
But the Biden government is also putting pressure on the private sector to strengthen its defenses against ransomware.
“All organizations need to recognize that no company is safe from ransomware attacks, regardless of size or location,” wrote Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and New Technologies, in a memo dated Jan.
“To understand your risk, executives should immediately convene their executive teams to discuss the ransomware threat and review the company’s security and business continuity plans to ensure you can continue operations or quickly recover,” added she added.
The White House is also facing questions about how to modernize cybersecurity protocols and banking laws to respond to cryptocurrencies, and its growing role in financial crime from ransomware to corruption.
This is the latest news. Please check again for updates.