The US State Department has announced a reward of up to $10 million for any information on the identity or whereabouts of individuals holding leadership positions in the DarkSide ransomware variant transnational organized crime gang.
State Department spokesman Ned Price also said there was a $5 million reward “for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any individual conspiring to participate in a DarkSide variant ransomware incident.
The ransomware group DarkSide took responsibility for the Colonial Pipeline Company’s ransomware incident in May 2021, which led to the company’s decision to proactively and temporarily close the 5,500-mile pipeline, which transports 45 percent of the fuel used on the US East Coast.
The financial rewards are part of the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, and the State Department has already paid $135 million in rewards since its inception in 1986.
News of the rewards comes a day after the cybercriminals behind the BlackMatter ransomware – a newly resurfaced version of DarkSide – said they would be shut down due to growing pressure from authorities.
The group launched several attacks on agricultural companies after rebranding itself as BlackMatter, but cybersecurity firm Emsisoft launched a decryptor that could help many victims of the cyberattack.
A successful disruption operation on the REvil ransomware group was carried out while Europol authorities arrested the Ukrainian group behind the MegaCortex, Dharma and LockerGoga ransomwares last week.
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