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A fuel tank at Colonial Pipeline's Dorsey Junction Station on May 13, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

U.S. investigators have recovered $2.3 million worth of cryptocurrency paid as a ransom to the cybercrime group responsible for the attack that shut down Colonial Pipeline last month, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Driving the news: Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount told the Wall Street Journal he authorized a $4.4 million ransom payment to the DarkSide cybercrime group on May 7th in an attempt to restore service of the largest refined fuel pipeline in the U.S.

  • The company, however, had notified the FBI and followed instructions to help U.S. investigators track the payment, CNN reported.
  • The federal government has for years recommended that companies do not pay those responsible for ransomware attacks due to fears that the transactions would encourage more groups to conduct future attacks.

The big picture: The attack caused gas stations in least 12 states and the District of Columbia to experience gas shortages.

The state of play: During a press conference Monday, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate confirmed that the U.S. had seized funds from a bitcoin wallet belonging to Darkside.

  • Investigators seized 63.7 Bitcoins out of the original payment of about 75 Bitcoin, per the Justice Department press release.
  • "Since last year, we've been pursuing an investigation into DarkSide, a Russia-based cybercrime group," he added.

What they're saying: "Ransomware attacks are always unacceptable, but when they target critical infrastructure, we will spare no effort in our response," said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

  • "Today, we turned the tables on DarkSide," she added.
  • "[T]he Department of Justice has found and recaptured the majority of the ransom Colonial paid to the Dark Side Network in the wake of last month’s ransomware attack," said Monaco.

Go deeper: Pipeline hack spotlights cyber risks to energy systems.

Go deeper

Senators call for greater regulation of cryptocurrency

Sen. Mark Warner. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

Two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), called on Sunday for greater regulation of cryptocurrencies in order to crack down on ransomware payments from cyberattacks.

Why it matters: Last month's hacking of the Colonial Pipeline underscored the nation's vulnerability to large scale ransomeware attacks and increased attention to the importance of cybersecurity.

Energy Secretary: U.S. adversaries likely trying to shut down power grid "as we speak"

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that U.S. adversaries have the capability to shut down the power grid, saying they are "trying even as we speak."

Why it matters: Granholm's warning comes as the public and private sectors are dealing with how to confront cyber threats after recent ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, a major U.S. fuel pipeline, and JBS USA, a top meat supplier.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.