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Feds offer up to $10 million reward for info on Hive ransomware hackers

The U.S. Department of State on Thursday said it would pay up to $10 million for information on the identities or whereabouts of leaders of the Hive ransomware gang.

The agency also said it is offering a reward of up to $5 million for info leading to the arrest or conviction of any person in any country conspiring to take part in Hive ransomware activity.

"Beginning in late July 2022, the FBI penetrated Hive's computer networks, obtained its decryption keys and offered them to victims worldwide, preventing victims from having to pay up to $130 million in ransoms demanded," the State Department said in a statement. 

Since 2021, Hive and its affiliates have targeted more than 1,500 institutions in over 80 countries, including the U.S., leading to theft of more than $100 million. Victims include school districts, financial firms and critical infrastructure.

The federal government's lucrative reward for information comes two weeks after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the FBI had toppled the international ring, seizing its servers in California after more than a year of spying on the cybercriminals.

Ransomware attack on health care chain impacts hospitals across U.S. 02:04

Ransomware groups like Hive design malicious software to infiltrate computer networks through a number of methods, including phishing emails, holding their users hostage and demanding payment in exchange for decryption keys to unlock an organization's systems. 

In one case, Hive's attack on a Midwestern hospital disrupted care during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and forced institutions to pay a ransom before they could treat their patients, the Justice Department said. 

Global ransomware payments surpassed the $1 billion mark last year after declining in 2022, according to data from Chainalysis. In the U.S., more than 2,200 hospitals, schools and governments were directly impacted by ransomware in 2023, along with thousands of private-sector firms, security company Emsisoft said last week in a blog post.

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