The Debate Over Hacking Ransomware Hackers

The recovery of ransom paid by the Colonial Pipeline operator allays some worries about cryptocurrency — but worries others.

By Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Sarah Kessler, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni

Ransom recovery

The Justice Department said yesterday that it had traced and seized much of the ransom that a major U.S. pipeline operator paid to a Russian hacking collective last month. The ransomware attack shut down the Colonial Pipeline for about a week, prompting fuel shortages and price spikes, until the company paid hackers more than $4 million worth of Bitcoin. But federal officials said that a new F.B.I. task force had recaptured most of the Bitcoins by, in essence, hacking the hackers.

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