Colonial Pipeline ransom attack: CEO to testify before Congress – Riverside, California

Riverside, California 2021-06-08 01:27:29 –

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Braunt will explain the decision to approve the $ 4.4 million ransom payment, most of which has been recovered.

Washington — CEO of a large fuel pipeline struck by ransomware last month details the company’s response to cyberattacks and approves multi-million dollar payments when testifying to Congress this week I will explain the decision.

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Braunt will meet with the Senate Department of Homeland Security the following Tuesday. The Justice Department has revealed that it has recovered most of the $ 4.4 million ransom. Payments made by the company in the hope of bringing the system back online. A second hearing is scheduled for Wednesday before the House Department of Homeland Security.

Braunt’s testimony has been since the May 7 ransomware attack, when the Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, which supplies about half of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, temporarily shut down. This is the first time I have appeared in Congress. The attack is attributed to a gang of Russian-based cybercriminals using a variant of the DarkSide ransomware, one of the more than 100 variants currently being investigated by the FBI.

The company decided to pay a ransom of 75 Bitcoins shortly after the attack. The FBI has traditionally blocked ransomware payments for fear of fostering cyberattacks, but colonial officials need this deal to resume critical fuel transport operations as quickly as possible. He states that he believes that.

Is Operation to seize cryptocurrencies paid to Russian-based hacker groups This is the first of its kind to be undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Biden administration’s Department of Justice. This reflects a rare victory in the fight against ransomware as US authorities confront a rapidly accelerating threat targeting key industries around the world.

“To increase the cost and consequences of ransomware and other cyber-based attacks by pursuing the entire ecosystem (including criminal proceeds in the form of digital currencies) that facilitates ransomware and digital extortion attacks. We will continue to use all our resources, “said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco at a press conference announcing the surgery.

In a statement on Monday, Braunt thanked the FBI for its efforts, making hackers accountable and disrupting their activities “the best way to stop and defend against future attacks of this kind.” Is. “

“The private sector has an equally important role to play, and we need to take cyber threats seriously and invest to strengthen our defenses accordingly,” he added.

Cryptocurrencies are preferred by cybercriminals because they can pay directly online regardless of geographic location, but in this case the FBI identifies the cryptocurrency wallet used by hackers and collects revenue from it. We were able to do that, says Abbate. The Justice Department did not provide details on how the FBI obtained the “key” for a particular Bitcoin address, but said law enforcement could track multiple transfers of cryptocurrencies.

“For monetary cybercriminals, especially those who appear to be abroad, blocking access to revenue is one of the most influential consequences we can impose.”

The amount of Bitcoin seized — 6.37 million, now worth $ 2.3 million after the Bitcoin price fell — was 85% of the total ransom paid. The person who carried out the attack. The ransomware software provider DarkSide should have acquired the remaining 15%.

“The blackmailer will never see this money,” said Stephanie Hines, deputy federal prosecutor for the Northern District of California.

Ransomware attacks, where hackers encrypt data in victims’ organizations and require large amounts of money to return information, are widespread around the world. Last year was the most damaging year on record for such an attack. Hackers are targeting important industries as well as hospitals and police.

A few weeks after the Colonial Pipeline attack, a ransomware attack by Russian-speaking gangster REvil disrupted production of Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest meat processing company.

The ransomware business has evolved into a highly fragmented racket, with data-locking software providers, ransomists, hackers breaking into targeted networks, and those systems moving undetected. The workforce is shared by hackers who are good at stealing sensitive data. An Indian center was hired to threaten people whose data was stolen and force them to pay for blackmail.

Boston Associated Press writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report.

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