U.S. State Dept. offers $10 million reward for information on DarkSide cybercriminals

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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.

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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.