FBI Recovers Cash From The Colonial Pipeline Ransom

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Wow, the guys in the white hats actually won this time. Imagine that. How can we forget the attack on the Colonial Pipeline Company attack that shut down many of the eastern states and the fear and suffering it caused Americans? The company handed over $4.4 million. It appears a criminal Eastern European hacker gang aka Darkside schemed to spread its malware tools to other hackers and take its cut.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm appeared on CNN’s Jake Tapper’s State of the Union show Sunday to talk about hackers. She said:

‘Even as we speak, there are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector generally … it’s happening all the time.’

FBI Director Christopher Wray told The Wall Street Journal indicated that when the victims of hacks and law enforcement work together, it can work out well. Too bad he did not tell us the name of the FBI’s operation. They have great names. Wray did say:

‘I don’t want to suggest that this is the norm, but there have been instances where we’ve even been able to work with our partners to identify the encryption keys, which then would enable a company to actually unlock their data — even without paying the ransom.’

Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger told CNN:

‘Individual companies feel under pressure – particularly if they haven’t done the cybersecurity work — to pay off the ransom and move on. But in the long-term, that’s what drives the ongoing ransom [attacks]. The more folks get paid the more it drives bigger and bigger ransoms and more and more potential disruption.’

A CNN source indicated that there were “different degrees of sophistication” among these hackers:

‘It’s really a mixed bag.’

The CNN source added “disrupting and tracing cryptocurrency payments is only one part of the equation:”

‘It will take improved defenses, breaking up the profitability of ransomware and directed action on the attackers to make this stop.’

Cybersecurity experts agreed that ransomware crooks used cryptocurrency in a money-laundering effort. Former Facebook chief security officer, co-founder of the Krebs Stamos Group, Alex Stamos noted:

‘In the Bitcoin era, laundering money is something that any nerd can do. You don’t need a big organized crime apparatus anymore.’

‘The only way we’re going to be able to strike back against that as an entire society is by making it illegal … I do think we have to outlaw payments. That is going to be really tough. The first companies to get hit once it’s illegal to pay, they’re going to be in a very tough spot. And we’re going to see a lot of pain and suffering.’

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco sent a memo to US prosecutors indicating how important it was to notify the Department of Justice when hacked:

‘We must enhance and centralize our internal tracking of investigations and prosecutions of ransomware groups and the infrastructure and networks that allow these threats to persist.’

Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads her week’s most important news/ commentary stories in the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.