Colonial Pipeline’s Crypto Ransom Payment Probe Alleges an “Inside Job”

In a joint announcement, the FBI and DOJ said that they had discovered the ransomware proceeds which were demanded from Colonial Pipelines. It was told that approximately 63.70 units of Bitcoins were seized by an agent of the FBI and taken into the agency’s custody.

An unfortunate event of a ransomware attack was caused upon Colonial Pipelines in which the company had to pay ransom money. Since then, probes have been taking place at the local police and federal levels. Apparently, there were several inconsistencies in the reporting of the incident, which were noted by experts and the general public.

When the issue made its way into the local media, people questioned whether US Government was aware of the ransomware attack. In addition, whether the victim sought advice from the Government on how to deal with the matter. Did Colonial Pipeline pay the ransom payment on its own or was it asked by the Government to pay the same. If, for example, the Government had itself advised the victim to settle the issue by paying the ransom, then there will be a contradiction. The Government at the time stated that it had advised Colonial Pipelines not to pay any money to the hackers.

There was another side of the incident which was initially covered by CNN. The news agency reported that the victim has informed the channel that it won’t be paying anything to the extortionists. But at the end of the day, the company did in fact pay to the extortionists. Reportedly, Colonial Pipelines paid for US$ 5 Million in the form of Bitcoin.

After payment, a notorious group of hackers namely Darkside owned the responsibility of the hack.

There were other contradictory reports that emerged during the time of the hack attack. For instance, according to CNN, the hackers had specifically asked to pay ransom in Bitcoin. However, according to Bloomberg, hackers demanded payment in specific digital assets which are usually considered difficult to trace. Yet, later on, CNN amended its earlier stance and adopted the narrative of Bloomberg subsequently.

There yet another apparent anomaly which is that it is generally impossible for anyone to gain access to Bitcoin key. Until and unless, the hacker is unable to obtain the original key, he cannot access any login key for Bitcoin. It is only when the key is acquired by or supplied to the hacker that he can gain access otherwise it is unbreakable. This creates doubts as to how an FBI agent managed to obtain a Bitcoin key where the hackers had kept the proceeds of crimes.

This issue is also is currently being discussed on Twitter and is a hot debate. People are alleging that there is something not right going on within the DOJ as well as in the law enforcement agencies. The case is still a mystery and further probe into the matter is expected to reveal more controverted facts.