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The US State Department has announced a bounty of up to $10 million for information that can help identify or locate the leaders of the notorious ransomware group, Hive. In addition to this, the government is prepared to provide up to $5 million for details leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone associated with Hive’s operations.
This group has been responsible for extorting over $100 million from various institutions, including hospitals, schools, and financial firms, by targeting their critical infrastructure since June 2021.
The announcement follows a significant breakthrough by the Justice Department in July 2022, when the FBI managed to infiltrate Hive’s computer networks. This operation allowed the FBI to obtain decryption keys, which were then used to assist the victims of Hive’s ransomware, preventing an estimated $130 million in ransom payments. The operation culminated in the seizure of Hive’s servers and websites, effectively disrupting the group’s operations. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “Last night, the Justice Department dismantled an international ransomware network responsible for extorting and attempting to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from victims in the United States and around the world.”
Garland further emphasized the ongoing commitment of the Justice Department to combat Cybercrime, saying, “Cybercrime is a constantly evolving threat. But as I have said before, the Justice Department will spare no resource to identify and bring to justice, anyone, anywhere, who targets the United States with a ransomware attack.”
This comes in light of a report from Chainalysis that noted ransomware payments surged last year to a record-high of $1.1 billion, marking a significant increase from the $567 million extorted in 2022.