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The FBI may have access to a lot more BTC in the addresses of hacking groups.
JBS USA Holdings Inc. has paid a $11 million Bitcoin ransom to hackers as fresh information about the FBI’s recovery of assets from a prior robbery emerges.
The payment was paid to protect JBS operations from additional interruption and is expected to be worth more than 300 BTC at current pricing. The corporation is the largest meat processor in the world, processing cattle, chicken, and pork from Australia to South America and Europe.
Andre Nogueira, chief executive of the Brazilian meat company’s U.S. division, said that the payment was painful and made after the majority of JBS plants were up and running again to ensure there were no further attacks. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FBI last week attributed the JBS attack to REvil, a criminal cybercrime group with ties to Russia.
The most recent high-profile Bitcoin ransom payment will undoubtedly increase the pressure on politicians to act. Earlier today, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren urged for stronger regulation, claiming that Bitcoin has “created opportunities to defraud investors, assist criminals, and exacerbate the climate crisis.” In response to the latest ransomware assaults, she stated:
“Every hack that is successfully paid off with a cryptocurrency becomes an advertisement for more hackers to try more cyberattacks,”
The assault against JBS, detected on May 30, was part of a wave of ransomware assaults that also attacked Colonial Pipeline, the operator of a pipeline transporting gasoline to areas of the United States’ East Coast.
According to Cointelegraph, the FBI was able to retrieve 63.7 BTC from the firm’s 75 BTC ransom paid to another Russian-linked hacking organisation named DarkSide.
The crypto community questioned the tactics utilised by the governmental agency to acquire access to the target address’s private keys at the time. Some speculated that Coinbase was involved in the confiscation, but company management denied any involvement.
According to Evertas, a crypto asset insurance provider, DarkSide was most likely already on the radar of law authorities and had acknowledged that they had lost control of their infrastructure, including the capacity to remove crypto money.
It notes that according to the affidavit, the private key for the subject address was in the possession of the FBI in the Northern District of California, not the actual funds.
Evertas used a mixture of open-source technologies and subscription-based blockchain analytics to uncover that the hacking gang split the ransom between three addresses in early May.
Up until the middle of May, DarkSide owned numerous addresses carrying a total of 114 BTC, according to the investigation. On June 7, 63.7 BTC were taken from one of the addresses, and Evertas believes the remainder is likely in the hands of the FBI:
“Evertas suspects that the FBI likely now controls the remaining almost 114 BTC and may be working to tie other payments made to DarkSide by other victims of the hackers’ RaaS [Ransomware as a Service] before effecting official seizures of the remaining funds.”
Although the news may appear to be encouraging, researchers at data analytics firm GlobalData feel that cryptocurrencies have just become a lot less safe, as the seizure paves the way for fiat-currency-style management. Danyaal Rashid, Thematic Analyst of GlobalData, stated:
“Bitcoin was supposed to liberate us from government control: decentralized and out of the government’s hands. The fact that the US Government has managed to recover most of this ransom, despite it being paid in Bitcoin, goes directly against this.”