Sure i'll download a PDF from US gov website...
The US Department of Justice on Monday said it has recovered 63.7 Bitcoins, right now worth $2.1m and falling, of the 75 or so BTC the Colonial Pipeline operators paid the ransomware miscreants who infected the fuel provider's computers. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Colonial contacted the Feds shortly after some of …
I will observe that the document referenced states "The private key for the Subject Address is in the possession of the FBI in the Northern District of California."
Is it coincidence that the largest US Crypto Exchange, Coinbase is out of San Francisco, which is within the Northern District?
In my mind its pretty clear how that private key wound up with the FBI. Coinbase or another exchange turned it over. This is why leaving crypto in an exchange wallet is a risky proposition.
It's right here: https://www.coinbase.com/learn/crypto-basics/what-is-a-crypto-wallet "The Coinbase app will securely manage the rights to your private keys." Yes, and in this case it securely managed those rights to the FBI.
Even the bad guys don't have a good handle on crypto management.
They were probably getting ready to turn them into fiat, or had already turned some of it into fiat—hence the partial recovery. I'm surprised that the crims didn't immediately mix it ten ways from Sunday and convert it to other coins before trying to cash out. At least, that's what I would do. I'd also use Monero as an initial unit of exchange, since it's much harder to track.
Hold on, someone's knocking at my door.
US law holds any that plays along with conversion in such situations not just liable for the money but criminally liable: this means potentially much bigger fines. And part of the fun of blockchain, is that every transaction is recorded. Basically, cryptocurrencies come with their own indelible ink. Or, you can't hold them without at some point having to identify yourself. Traditional money laundering via the service industries is much more reliable and the banks will continue to make money by stealing from or betting against their customers.
It seems unlikely that this particular criminal gang is so ill-informed about Bitcoin that it would put so much money in a wallet with a key held by a commercial company. Aren't they supposed to be the creme-de-la-creme of ransomware hackers?
I am going with the speculation in the article: that they feds acquired the key due to breaching the gang's servers.
I am guessing that the "missing" money is the money-launderers fees - I have never laundered any money but 15-20% seems like a likely fee (if anything a bit low, but they were obviously rubbish launderers if the FBI were able to trace the transactions back to the satisfaction of the US court authorising the impounding).
The article references "affiliate fees"--think like a sales commission. The BTC had not been laundered yet--that's why they could grab it out of a single wallet.
My understanding is that 2% is something of a going historic rate for laundering. No idea what it's like in coin.
We have had access to plenty of various forms of human trading materials for quite a while now, "financing" is not the problem. Converting warmbloods' physiology we have now realized is a much slower process, however.
That, and controlling / removing their constant war-like tendencies. Such a headache. Previous projects on other planets were so much simpler. I miss the good times.
As others have already observed, the only way the FBI could have obtained the private key to this wallet is if the crooks were stupid enough to send the same coins, or insufficiently laundered coins to an internet wallet where the provider holds the private key and where they are subject to US control.
Are they really that stupid?
BTC is stored on ordinary computers. Said computers* have cyber weaknesses. FBI and the rest of gov own stashes of exploits. So they used an exploit to read the contents of the bad guy computer. As part of this operation, they got the wallet key and all other keymat, such as passphrase and account pw.
*yeah,even Linux and xBSD
Something smells bad here.
Fishy all over.
I don't know exactly how the virtual currency system works.
But if you can store your keys in someone else's wallet and depend on their alleged security, you can also store it in your wallet and depend on whatever security you decide to implement and move it only once you want to make it physical currency.
If there's someone who knows how to do that it's the ransomware crew.
How come these crooks did not store it in an encrypted drive hidden somewhere or in their posession?
ie: if I ran from my office with my company's payroll, be sure you will not see me making a bank deposit.
Could it be that they are really that stupid?
Me thinks not.
This looks like part of a very elaborate government (?) sponsored plan to push for the implementation of backdoors.
Has anyone noticed that ransomware targets are never off shore/overseas investment banks up to the ceiling in dark/pre-laundered money?
sorta mentioned in the article, BTC apparently dropped quite a bit in value... and if it is THAT easy for the FBI to play 'follow the money' to find crooks, BTC has significantly less value at hiding them from Johnny Law.
(yet another reason why I don't invest in it)