[ExI] colonial pipeline shutdown

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Fri Jun 11 16:19:56 UTC 2021

On Fri, Jun 11, 2021 at 11:21 AM Dave Sill <sparge at gmail.com> wrote:

> From
> https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-fbi-got-colonial-pipelines-ransom-money-back-11623403981
> which is paywalled:
> *After Colonial Pipeline Co. on May 8 paid roughly $4.4 million in
> cryptocurrency to hackers holding its computer systems hostage, the Federal
> Bureau of Investigation followed the digital money.Over the next 19 days,
> court records show, a special agent watched on a publicly visible bitcoin
> ledger as hackers transferred the 75 bitcoins to other digital addresses. A
> May 27 transfer of nearly 64 bitcoins landed at a virtual address to which
> the FBI gained access, providing an opportunity to get a warrant and
> pounce.*

As for how they did that, the likely answer is An0m, their "secure"
messaging app:


*For nearly three years, the FBI covertly ran an encrypted messaging app
that tricked criminals into divulging their illegal activities on a massive
scale. Data pulled from the honeypot led to hundreds of arrests across 18
countries, authorities revealed Tuesday.The app, known as An0m, claimed to
offer its criminal clientele secure communications — almost like an illicit
WhatsApp. In reality, the FBI surveilled the platform for clandestine
conversations on organized crime, drug trafficking, and money laundering.
“Essentially, we have been in the back pockets of organized crime and
operationalized a criminal takedown like we have never seen,” Australian
Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw said at a press event. The global
operation was code-named Trojan Shield in the United States and Europe and
Special Operation Ironside in Australia.The FBI and AFP designed the
communications platform to entice crime gangs by suiting their needs for
secure, encrypted communications. A May 18 affidavit filed by FBI special
agent Nicolas Cheviron said the FBI, the AFP, and their developer source
“built a master key into the existing encryption system which
surreptitiously attaches to each message and enables law enforcement to
decrypt and store the message as it is transmitted.”“It has a good
reputation among criminals. They mutually promote it as the platform you
should use for its absolute reliability,” Jannine van den Berg, chief
commissioner of the national unit of the Dutch police, said at a press
event. Indeed, all told, there were 20 million messages from more than
11,000 devices. “But nothing was further from the truth,” van den Berg
added.More than 800 suspects were arrested worldwide in “one of the largest
and most sophisticated law-enforcement operations to date in the fight
against encrypted criminal activities,” Europol, the agency that
coordinates police activity among the 27 European Union countries, said in
a press release. Internationally, the operation seized 250 firearms, 55
luxury cars, and $48 million in cash and cryptocurrency, plus 22 tons of
marijuana, eight tons of cocaine, and two tons of methamphetamine and

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