1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Ransomware criminals lock away vital data belonging to companies and then charge for it to be released
Ransomware criminals lock away vital data belonging to companies and then charge for it to be releasedImage: picture alliance / Alexey Malgavko/Sputnik/dpa
CrimeUnited States of America

US issues $10m bounty in hunt for DarkSide hackers

November 5, 2021

The State Department has announced a reward for information about leaders of the cybercrime group DarkSide, which targeted a major US oil pipeline.

https://p.dw.com/p/42bsw

The US on Thursday announced a $10 million (€8.6 million) reward for information to help find leaders of the high-profile ransomware group DarkSide.

It's the latest effort at stopping cyber-extortion attacks by the group, which Washington blames for a major oil pipeline shutdown in May.

What is the State Department offering?

In addition to the bounty on the leaders, the State Department is also offering up to $5 million for information that arrests or convicts anyone, in any country, attempting to participate in a DarkSide ransomware incident.

"In offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals," the State Department said in a statement

The FBI has said DarkSide is based in Russia and that it is responsible for a cyberattack in May that targeted the Colonial Pipeline.

The closure caused causing a days-long shutdown that caused a rise in gas prices and fuel shortages in parts of the southeastern US.

The Colonial Pipeline pumps fuel from Gulf Coast of Texas to the populous East Coast
The Colonial Pipeline pumps fuel from Gulf Coast of Texas to the populous East CoastImage: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Cybercrimes on the increase

Colonial Pipeline said it paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin to the hackers to regain access to its systems. In June, the US Justice Department was able to recover some $2.3 million of that ransom.

The world's largest meat processor JBS said in June that it had paid $11 million after a hack by a Russian group known as REvil.

New data this month shows that US authorities received reports of some $590 million in ransomware-related payments in the first half of 2021 alone.

The figure is also 42% percent higher than the amount divulged for all of 2020, the US Treasury report said.

It is believed that the true cost could run into billions.

Ransomware cyber-extortion works by hackers involved breaking into a company or institution's network often via phishing or other scams.

The criminals then encrypt vital company data and demand ramsons via cryptocurrency in exchange for a digital key to unlock it.

rc/rt (AFP, Reuters)

Skip next section Related topics

Related topics

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Locals help transfer humanitarian aid across a collapsed bridge near Novopetrivka, following the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson region

Ukraine updates: Kyiv marks Soviet-era famine as war rages

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage