Spooky Moves In The Dark See FBI Seize Bitcoin Wallet

Strange things have been happening on the dark side so much so that some websites are no longer easily accessible. 

On Monday the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate in the US answered some of the many questions arising from the anomaly.

“Today the FBI successfully seized criminal proceeds from a bitcoin wallet that DarkSide ransomware actors used to collect a cyber ransom payment from a victim,” declared Abbate in a statement posted on the FBI website.

“Since last year, we’ve been pursuing an investigation into DarkSide – a Russia-based cybercrime group.”

The DarkSide ransomware variant is one of more than 100 ransomware variants that the FBI is investigating. 

DarkSide developers market their ransomware to criminal affiliates, who then conduct attacks and share a percentage of the proceeds with the developers, a scheme known as ransomware-as-a-service.

In this case, Abbate said the FBI has identified more than 90 victims across multiple US critical infrastructure sectors including manufacturing, legal, insurance, health care, and energy.

“Based on our investigation into DarkSide, and incredible work with other US government partners, we identified a virtual currency wallet that the DarkSide actors used to collect a payment from a victim,” said Abbate. 

“Using law enforcement authorities, victim funds were seized from that wallet, preventing DarkSide actors from using them.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday law enforcement agencies said police arrested more than 800 people worldwide in a huge global sting involving encrypted phones that were secretly planted by the FBI.

Mafia groups, Asian crime syndicates, motorcycle gangs, and other criminal networks were all monitored using the spiked phones as part of operation “Trojan Shield”.

The sting, jointly conceived by Australia and the FBI, prevented around 100 murders, foiled several large-scale narcotics shipments, and led to seizures of weapons and cash, they added.

“The results are staggering,” FBI Assistant Director Calvin Shivers told reporters at the headquarters of the European Union’s police agency Europol in The Netherlands.