JBS USA Holdings Inc. paid cybercriminals a ransom of $ 11 million in Bitcoin as new details become known about the recovery of assets from a previous heist by the FBI.
The payment, valued at over 300 BTC at current prices, was made to protect the JBS factories from further disruption. The company is the largest meat company in the world by sales and processing of beef, poultry and pork from Australia to South America and Europe.
That said Andre Nogueira, CEO of the US division of the Brazilian meat company the payment was painful and came after most of the JBS works were back online to ensure there were no more attacks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Last week the FBI attributed the attack on JBS REvil, a Russian-affiliated group of cyber criminals.
The recent highly effective Bitcoin ransom payment will undoubtedly increase the pressure on lawmakers to act. The Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren today called for stricter regulation, stating that cryptocurrency “created ways to scam investors, help criminals and make the climate crisis worse”.. Regarding the recent ransomware attacks, he said:
“Every hack that is successfully paid for with a cryptocurrency becomes an advertisement for more hackers trying to carry out more cyberattacks.”
The attack on JBS, discovered on May 30, was part of a wave of ransomware attacks that also targeted the Colonial Pipeline., the operator of a pipeline that transports gasoline to parts of the east coast of the United States.
As Cointelegraph reported, The FBI managed to recover 63.7 BTC from the 75 BTC ransom that the company paid to another Russian-affiliated group of hackers called DarkSide.
Back then, the cryptocurrency community questioned the federal agency’s methods of accessing the target address’ private keys.. Some also suggested that Coinbase was involved in the seizure, but company executives denied any connection.
According to the crypto insurance company Evertas, DarkSide was likely already on law enforcement’s radar and they themselves would have confirmed they’d lost control of their infrastructure, including the ability to mine crypto funds.
The company advises that, according to the affidavit the private key to the address in question was held by the FBI in the Northern District of California, not the fund itself.
Evertas analyzed the remittances using a combination of open source tools and subscription-based blockchain analysis to show that the hacking group split the ransom in three directions in early May.
Analysis shows that DarkSide checked several addresses with a total of 114 BTC in mid-May. On June 7th, 63.7 BTC was seized from one of the addresses and Evertas believes the FBI likely controls the rest:
â ???? Evertas suspects the FBI is now likely to control the remaining nearly 114 BTC and may be working on pegging other payments from other RaaS victims to DarkSide [Ransomware as a Service] Hackers before they officially seize the remaining funds. “
The revelation may seem positive, however Analysts at data analytics firm GlobalData believe cryptocurrencies have just lost security as the seizure marks the path to fiat money-style control. GlobalData thematic analyst Danyaal Rashid said:
“Bitcoin was supposed to free us from government control – it was decentralized and not in the hands of the government. The fact that the US government managed to get most of this ransom back, even though it was paid in Bitcoin, speaks directly against it.
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