US government unveils $10 million bounty for DarkSide ransomware gang leaders

The $10 million is for intel that results in the identification or location of anybody who holds a management place within the DarkSide group.

ransomware cybercrime

Picture: Shutterstock/Vchal

Any bounty hunters on the market may probably rating a cool $10 million if they assist the US authorities snag one of many leaders of the DarkSide ransomware gang. On Thursday, the US State Division introduced the brand new bounty, providing the cash for any data that helps to establish or find one of many cybercriminals who has a key management place within the notorious group.

SEE: Ransomware: What IT professionals have to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The Begin Division can also be touting a reward of as much as $5 million for information that results in the arrest and/or conviction of anybody who tried to take part in a DarkSide variant ransomware assault. This supply widens the online to individuals who acted as associates of DarkSide’s Ransomware-as-a-Service operation or those that labored with any offshoots of the DarkSide ransomware. The person’s arrest or conviction can happen in any nation, thus avoiding the necessity for extradition to the US.

“In providing this reward, the US demonstrates its dedication to defending ransomware victims around the globe from exploitation by cybercriminals,” the State Division mentioned. “America seems to be to nations who harbor ransomware criminals which can be prepared to carry justice for these sufferer companies and organizations affected by ransomware.”

Ransomware has grown into an enormous international drawback with felony teams stealing delicate information and extorting victims for big sums of cash. Although many gangs function worldwide, the State Division probably singled out DarkSide as a consequence of its assault towards Colonial Pipeline this previous Might. That incident compelled the corporate to quickly shut its pipeline, which is chargeable for 45% of the gasoline delivered to the East Coast. The assault confirmed how ransomware can affect essential infrastructure and assets, thereby affecting a lot of folks.

Nonetheless, DarkSide’s boldness in concentrating on such a essential group led to undue publicity concerning the group, thereby shining a light-weight on the brand new wave of ransomware assaults. That in flip has prompted the US authorities and others to take a stronger stance towards any such crime, vowing to fight the issue and produce perpetrators to justice via quite a lot of measures.

“This announcement is extraordinarily noteworthy,” mentioned Sean Nikkel, senior cyberthreat intel analyst at safety supplier Digital Shadows. “Whereas there was an analogous announcement in July 2021 from the State Division for a $10M reward within the struggle towards nation-state exercise, that is the primary to focus on an actor explicitly. For reference, the reward for data resulting in the seize of Osama bin Laden was $25M, so it does illustrate how essential this data is likely to be, particularly for the reason that incentive is sufficient that it probably turns mates into foes.”

SEE: Hiring Equipment: Cybersecurity Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

Although providing a bounty to ship a felony might sound like an extended shot, the US is clearly relying on the outdated adage of there being no honor amongst thieves.

“As ransomware operators have adopted an affiliate mannequin for operations, the variety of folks they need to place belief in, even at arm’s size, has elevated dramatically,” mentioned BreachQuest co-founder and CTO Jake Williams. “With rewards this huge, there is a substantial incentive for these criminals to activate each other. Maybe extra importantly than the precise impacts to DarkSide, this motion undermines belief throughout the ransomware as a service affiliate mannequin.”

The reward is a part of the State Division’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP). Arrange in 2013, the TOCRP is designed to fight worldwide organized crime, together with cybercrime. The division mentioned that greater than 75 transnational criminals and drug traffickers have been delivered to justice, whereas greater than $135 million in rewards have been paid out.

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