The United States Government has decided to put a price on the heads of the members of the cybercrime group known as DarkSide. These hackers are characterized by extorting and requesting payments in bitcoin (BTC), or in privacy-based cryptocurrencies such as monero (XMR).
In that sense, the State Department has issued a release in which offer up to USD 10 million for information that “leads to the identification or location of any person occupying a key leadership position” in the hacker group.
The motivation of the United States to go on the track of DarkSide, is due to that group carried out one of the largest attacks against an oil facility in that country. Specifically, they sabotaged the operation of an oil pipeline located in the state of Texas, a fact reported by CriptoNoticias.
The pipeline, called Colonial Pipeline, is one of the most major distributors of fuel for planes and vehicles on the coast Southeastern United States. The pipelines run from Texas to New Jersey and carry about 3 million barrels of fuel.
In this case, the cybercriminals executed a ransomware attack. This is a method in which they steal a set of key data that is then encrypted to block access to it. With the information in their possession, hackers ask for a ransom. DarkSide, as said at the beginning, usually asks for cryptocurrencies like BTC or monero.
These groups also they often extort and threaten victims with filtering the information on the dark web if they do not make the required payment.
The United States is not alone behind DarkSide
The US authorities have decided go beyond its borders. They also offer a reward of up to $ 5 million for information leading to “arrest and / or conviction.” in any country and of a person who “conspired to participate or attempt to participate” in a ransomware attack from a group derived from DarkSide.
This is because cybercriminal groups after attacking, often hide from the radar of the authorities or change their name.
By offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals. The United States seeks nations that host ransomware criminals who are willing to bring justice to victimized companies and organizations affected by ransomware.
Statement from the United States Department of State.
Offering rewards for cybercrime is powered by the Rewards for Justice program, which was established in 1984 to attack international terrorism.
Following the pipeline, the administration of President Joe Biden decided raise investigations linked to cyber ransomware attacks at a priority similar to that of terrorist activities, as reported by CriptoNoticias.
For these types of crimes, the authorities formed a special unit located in Washington and appointed the nation’s prosecutors for the investigations.