The U.S. Department of State is cracking down on ransomware gangs, offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of the leaders behind the DarkSide ransomware group. The bounty, announced on Thursday, is the latest effort by the U.S. government to crack down on ransomware actors, after several high-profile cyber attacks this year. This is “the largest bounty ever offered for the arrest of a specific cyber-criminal.”
The department will also pay out up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals – in any country – participating in a DarkSide ransomware attack.
The DarkSide ransomware group was behind the May ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, a 5,500-mile pipeline that carries 45 percent of the fuel used in the U.S. East Coast, which led to the company temporarily shutting down the pipeline.
“In offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals.”
“The United States looks to nations who harbour ransomware criminals that are willing to bring justice for those victim businesses and organizations affected by ransomware.”Ned Price, a spokesperson with the U.S. Department of State.
This reward is offered under the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP), a program established in 2013 that gives the Secretary of State the ability to offer rewards of up to $25 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of those participating in transnational organized crime.
Other law enforcement efforts are being carried out against cybercriminals globally, including an operation announced last week that involved authorities from several countries and led to the arrest of 12 individuals linked to ransomware attacks.
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