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U.S. Offers $10 Million Reward to Catch DarkSide Ransomware Cyber Criminals

Representational Photo

Representational Photo

This reward is offered under the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP).

The U.S. Department of State has announced a reward offer of up to $10,000,000 for information leading to the identification or location of any individual(s) who hold(s) a key leadership position in the DarkSide ransomware variant transnational organized crime group. 

In addition, the Department is also offering a reward offer of up to $5,000,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction in any country of any individual conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in a DarkSide variant ransomware incident.

Ransomware is a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim’s personal data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system so that it is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion.

The DarkSide ransomware group was responsible for the Colonial Pipeline Company ransomware incident in May 2021, which led to the company’s decision to proactively and temporarily shut down the 5,500-mile pipeline that carries 45 percent of the fuel used on the East Coast of the United States. 

In offering this reward, the United States says it demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cyber criminals. In a statement issued on November 4, the U.S. Department of State said the U.S. looks to nations who harbor ransomware criminals that are willing to bring justice for those victim businesses and organizations affected by ransomware.

This reward is offered under the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP). The Department manages the TOCRP in close coordination with federal law enforcement partners as part of a whole of government effort to disrupt and dismantle transnational organized crime globally, including cybercrime. 

More than 75 transnational criminals and major narcotics traffickers have been brought to justice under the TOCRP and the Narcotics Rewards Program (NRP) since 1986. The Department has paid more than $135 million in rewards to date.

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