The US Department of State on Thursday announced that it would pay upto $10 million for information that leads to the identification or whereabouts of any individuals who hold a leadership in the Hive ransomware gang.
In addition, a reward of upto $5 million is being offered by the agency for information that results in the arrest or conviction of anyone in the United State who is involved in a conspiracy to distribute the Hive ransomware.
“Beginning in late July 2022, the FBI (the Federal Bureau of Investigation) penetrated Hive’s computer networks, obtained its decryption keys and offered them to victims worldwide, preventing victims from having to pay upto $130 million in ransoms demanded,” the State Department said in a statement.
“After infiltrating Hive’s networks, the FBI provided over 300 decryption keys to Hive victims who were under attack. In addition, the FBI distributed over 1,000 additional decryption keys to previous Hive victims,” it added.
Over 1,500 institutions in more than 80 countries, including the United States, have been the target of Hive and its associates since 2021, resulting in the theft of more than $100 million. School districts, banking institutions, and vital infrastructure are among the victims.
Over 2,200 hospitals, schools, and government facilities were attacked in the US alone in 2023, along with thousands of private businesses.
Also Read: FBI Director Christopher Wray warns Chinese hackers ready to ‘wreak havoc’ on US infrastructure
How does Hive ransomware gang operate?
Malicious software, sometimes known as ransomware, is a kind of software that blocks users from accessing networks, computers, or data until a ransom is paid to unlock them.
The Hive ransomware gang creates malicious software that can enter corporate networks through a variety of techniques, such as phishing emails. The gang demands large payments in exchange for decryption keys that open the organization’s system, holding its users captive.
Also Read: Government agencies in the US also targeted in MOVEit global hacking attack
According to the Justice Department, in one instance, Hive’s attack on a hospital in the Midwest hampered medical facilities during the COVID-19 outbreak and required the hospital to pay a ransom before it could start treating patients.
The significant reward for providing information was made public a few weeks after US Attorney General Merrick Garland declared that the FBI had blown up the global network and taken control of its servers in California after more than a year of monitoring the hackers’ system.