The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of the leaders of DarkSide transnational organized crime group.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified DarkSide as the hacker group responsible for the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline in May 2021. The ransomware attack caused a temporary shutdown of the 5,500-mile pipeline that carries 45% of fuel supplies on the East Coast. The shutdown resulted in fuel shortages, an increase in gas prices, and panic buying.
Additionally, the State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrests and or conviction of any individual conspiring to participate in or attempting to join in a DarkSide ransomware attack.
“In offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals,” according to the State Department.
During a Senate committee hearing in June, Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount Jr. told lawmakers that the company paid approximately $5 million ransom to the DarkSide cybercriminals. He also revealed that the hacker group breached the company’s system using a single “compromised” password.