Millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin paid to ransomware hackers who shut down the main fuel pipeline on the U.S. East Coast last month has been recovered, the Department of Justice announced on Monday.

Fast Facts:

  • Bitcoin worth approximately US$2.3 million was recovered from the group held responsible for the attack on operator Colonial Pipeline — the first seizure undertaken by the newly created DOJ digital extortion taskforce.
  • Following a similar ransomware attack on meat producer JBS, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters a day earlier: “President Biden has already launched a rapid strategic review to address the increased threat of ransomware to include four lines of effort … [including] expanding cryptocurrency analysis to find and pursue criminal transaction[s]”.
  • UK-based consumer news website Comparitech recently published its annual report on cybersecurity, which found that four Central Asian countries are among the 15 least cyber-secure in the world. Those countries are Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, with Tajikistan ranking as the least secure in the world.
  • As cryptocurrency mining operations continue to grow in Kazakhstan amid a continued crackdown on the industry in China, the security of mining operations in Central Asian countries is set to gain greater importance.