The Justice Department on Monday recovered some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline Co, cracking down on hackers who launched the most disruptive U.S. cyberattack on record.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said investigators had seized 63.7 bitcoins, now valued at about $2.3 million, paid by Colonial (COLPI.UL) after last month's hack of its systems that led to massive shortages at U.S. East Coast gas stations.
The Justice Department has "found and recaptured the majority" of the ransom paid by Colonial, Monaco said.
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. It was unclear how the FBI gained access to the key.
A judge in San Francisco approved the seizure of funds from this "cryptocurrency address," which the filing said was located in the Northern District of California.
Colonial Pipeline had said it paid the hackers nearly $5 million to regain access. Bitcoin was trading down nearly 5% around 1800 ET (2200 GMT). The cryptocurrency's value has dropped to around $34,000 in recent weeks after hitting a high of $63,000 in April.