$10 Million Offered for Identifying Hackers Who Extort Money
There is a $5 million reward for hackers outside the U.S.
The U.S. claims to be committed to protecting ransomware victims.
The United States Government has decided to put a price on the heads of the members of the cybercrime group known as DarkSide. These hackers are characterized by extorting and requesting payments in bitcoin (BTC), or in privacy-based cryptocurrencies such as monero (XMR).
In that sense, the State Department has issued a statement in which they offer up to USD 10 million for information that “leads to the identification or location of any person who occupies a key leadership position” in the hacker group.
The pipeline, called colonial pipeline, is one of the largest distributors of jet and vehicle fuel on the southeastern coast of the United States. The pipelines run from Texas to New Jersey and carry about 3 million barrels of fuel.
In this case, the computer criminals executed a ransomware attack. This is a method in which they steal a set of key data that is then encrypted to block access to it. With the information in their possession, the hackers ask for a ransom. DarkSide, as said at the beginning, usually asks for cryptocurrencies such as BTC or monero.
America’s Not Alone Behind DarkSide
U.S. authorities have decided to go beyond their borders. They also offer a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to “arrest and/or conviction” in any country and of that person who “conspires to participate or attempts to participate” in a ransomware attack by a DarkSide-derived group.
This is because cybercriminal groups after attacking, usually hide from the radar of the authorities or change their name.
By offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals. The United States is looking for nations that harbor ransomware criminals who are willing to do justice for victim businesses and organizations affected by ransomware.
Statement from the United States Department of State.
The offering of rewards for cybercrime is driven by the Rewards for Justice program, which was established in 1984 to attack international terrorism.
After what happened with the pipeline, the administration of President Joe Biden decided to raise investigations linked to ransomware cyberattacks to a priority similar to that of terrorist activities,as reported by cryptolafinance.
For such crimes, authorities formed a special unit located in Washington and appointed prosecutors from the nation for investigations.