On Thursday, the US State Department announced a $10 million award for information leading to the identification of hackers working on behalf of foreign authorities and attacking critical infrastructure of the United States.
According to the statement, information is being sought about cybercriminals acting “on behalf of or under the control of a foreign government” and who are involved in intrusions, ransomware attacks or data theft.
The ministry said it is looking for hackers who target not only government systems and financial institutions, but also those affecting international trade and communications.
The award is presented as part of the Rewards for Justice program, which previously offered, among other things, rewards for information on terrorists. Information can be sent through a private channel on the darknet that can be accessed via the anonymous Tor network. Informants can count on the transfer and pay the prize in cryptocurrency.
Under the Rewards for Justice program, which has been in operation since 1984, US authorities have paid more than 100 whistleblowers in excess of $200 million.
The award announcement is one of a series of measures against ransomware attacks announced by the Biden administration on Thursday. The Ministry of Finance announced that it will cooperate with banks, financial institutions and technology companies to improve and speed up tracking of cryptocurrency trading. This is done to make it easier for hackers to intercept ransom payments made by ransomware victims, as was the case with the Colonial Pipeline Network.
On Thursday, authorities also launched the website stopransomware.gov, which offers tips on countering ransomware attacks and strengthening network protection.
These actions are a response to the recent series of ransomware cyber attacks by Russian criminal groups. The website of the REvil group responsible for the attack on IT company Kaseya and its clients disappeared from the dark web on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the White House refused to answer a question if it was the result of the actions of US or Russian authorities.
From Washington, Oscar Gorzinsky (PAP)
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