The US Department of State wants to end a story about a Russian-speaking outfit called DarkSide by offering up to $10 million for information that will lead to the "identification or location" of any key individual of the group.
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According to an announcement, the Department is also offering up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of any individual "conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in a DarkSide variant ransomware incident."
"In offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cyber criminals," the announcement says.
The DarkSide group was behind the attack on the Colonial Pipeline in May 2021, which shut down the major gasoline and jet fuel pipeline to large swaths of the South and the East Coast. This summer, the FBI recovered millions of dollars paid by the Colonial Pipeline operator in a cryptocurrency to DarkSide. Officially it remains unclear how and what cryptocurrency the agency managed to regain access over the assets.
Colonial Pipeline paid $5 million to DarkSide in the so-called "difficult-to-trace cryptocurrency" within hours after the attack. According to Elliptic, a blockchain-focused forensic service, the hackers received the ransom in bitcoin (EXANTE: Bitcoin).
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