Actually, crypto money is protected with a top secret code. But the US federal police gained access. This is now causing excitement in the markets, the Bitcoin is losing value.
It was a spectacular coup with which a hacker group paralyzed the largest gasoline pipeline in the USA about a month ago. The Colonial Pipeline company had to temporarily suspend the operation of the important pipe. Bottlenecks arose in parts of the country and gas stations ran out of fuel.
To defuse the situation, Colonial Pipeline responded to the extortionate demands of the hackers. The company paid the requested ransom of 75 Bitcoin. That was around $ 4.4 million at the time. The hackers, who the US government suspects members of the Dark Side group from Russia are behind, emerged victorious.
Easy come easy go
But now the tide has turned: the group itself has become the victim of a cyber trick. The US Federal Police (FBI) has secured most of the ransom payment and retrieved 63.7 Bitcoin to the current value of 2.3 million dollars, as the US Department of Justice announced. How was that possible?
“Following the trail of money remains one of the simplest but most effective tools we have.”
US-Vizejustizministerin Lisa O. Monaco
Investigators managed to identify a digital wallet that the hackers used to collect the ransom payment. They got on this track by checking numerous transactions, all of which led to this wallet.
The FBI then obtained judicial authority access to the digital wallet and secured the bitcoins. “Following the trail of money remains one of the simplest but most effective tools we have,” says Vice Minister of Justice Lisa O. Monaco.
How exactly the investigators gained access to the bitcoins remains a mystery. Because the wallets are actually protected with a top secret code. However, the FBI had this “private key” or the equivalent substitute for a password, which is necessary to gain access to the money, declared the US Department of Justice.
The move caused a stir in the financial market. The Bitcoin course crashed after the action became known.
Securing the Bitcoin is a great success for the US investigators. You want to take action against digital blackmailers. In so-called ransomware attacks, these gain access to a company’s computers and encrypt important data.
This often paralyzes the entire operation. The attackers only release the systems after they have received a ransom.
Attacks with ransomeware in Switzerland too
Such attacks are now increasing. At the end of May, the US subsidiary of the world’s largest meat producer JBS was the victim of a cyber attack with ransomware. Companies in Switzerland are also increasingly affected. Among other things, attacks on the hospital group are known Hirslanden and an attack on the railway builder Stadler Rail.
Many attacked companies pay the required ransom. Very few have experienced that it comes back in parts.