The US State Department continues its offensive against the groups they use ransomware, promising a reward of up to $ 10 million for information that could lead to the identification or location of those who hold key leadership positions in a transnational organized crime group using the DarkSide ransomware.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said a $ 5 million reward was offered for information that could lead to “arrest or conviction in any country” of anyone involved or trying to take part in the DarkSide ransomware attacks.
These awards apply to DarkSide and rebranded ransomware variants, including the latest BlackMatter.
It is common for such criminal groups to, after attacking very important companies or institutions, allegedly resigned from the job and soon appeared under another name.
“Ransomware group DarkSide was responsible for incident with Colonial Pipeline in May 2021, which led to the company’s decision to proactively and temporarily close a 5,500-mile pipeline carrying 45 percent of the fuel used on the east coast of the United States, “Price said.
After that incident DarkSide was renamed BlackMatter. Similarly, other ransomware groups have been rebranded in the past. REvil reappeared as GandCrab, ransomware Maze was renamed Egregor, Bitpaymer and DoppelPaymer then to Grief, and Nemty to Netfilim and then to Karma.
The news of the awards comes just a day after cybercriminals behind the BlackMatter ransomware, a rebranded version of DarkSide, said they were quitting their jobs “due to certain unsolvable circumstances related to government pressure.” Some of the brand members have mysteriously disappeared.
However, U.S. officials say changing the name of the ransomware will not save them from prosecution.
“By offering this award, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals.”
The cash prizes are part of the Rewards Program for Transnational Organized Crime, from which 135 million dollars have been paid since its launch.
Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Kelly wondered if former members of the Darkside / BlackMatter gang would be tempted by the awards offered by the State Department.
“Cybercriminals would gladly throw each other under the bus – and everyone knows that. And cash is absolutely the right motivation, “Kelow said. “The award will create even more mistrust in the criminal underworld, and that will make it harder for gangs to operate. This is a very smart move by the United States. “
Source: Informacija.rs by www.informacija.rs.
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