Rewards Offered for Information on Ransomware Gang

Rewards Offered for Information on Ransomware Gang

( – On January 26, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that Justice Department officials “dismantled” Hive, a transnational ransomware as a service (RaaS) operation. The AG and Europol say the organization has hacked more than 1,500 companies across 80 countries since June 2021. Tufts University cybersecurity professor Josephine Wolff recently warned in an interview with the Scientific American that although the group’s operations were disrupted, that doesn’t mean Hive can’t start distributing RaaS again. A recent report indicated the US government concurs and is taking action.

On February 8, the State Department issued a media note announcing that its Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program was offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of anyone holding a “key leadership position” in Hive. Additionally, the department has up to $5 million available for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of individuals attempting or conspiring to participate in the cybercriminal group’s ransomware activities.

The State Department confirmed that US officials and their European partners would continue their efforts to deter and disrupt ransomware groups and individuals who threaten critical infrastructure and national economies.

The media note advised that it complemented a press release issued by the DOJ elaborating on Garland’s January 26 announcement. That notice advised that in mid-2022, FBI agents penetrated Hive’s servers, captured the group’s decryption keys, and provided them to victims globally.

The press release explained that the FBI provided more than 300 keys to victims who were under attack and 1,000 to companies previously targeted by the Hive. Those efforts kept victims from paying approximately $130 million in ransomware demanded from the transnational ransomware group.

The statement also advised that FBI officials seized control of the websites and servers used by Hive to communicate with members, “disrupting” the cybercriminals’ “ability to hack and extort victims.” The bureau was assisted by officials from the United States Secret Service, Europol, the Netherlands’ National High-Tech Crime Unit, and two German agencies — the Reutlingen Police Headquarters-based Criminal Investigation Division Esslingen and the Federal Criminal Police Office.

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