(Washington) The United States on Thursday announced a $ 10 million reward for information leading to the discovery of the leaders of the DarkSide ransomware hacker group.
Washington has accused the Russia-based group of being behind an online attack that shut down a major network of refined product pipelines in the United States a few months ago.
Ransomware, or “ransomware,” uses security holes in a business or individual to encrypt and block their computer systems, demanding a ransom to open them.
“By presenting this award, the United States demonstrates its commitment to preventing ransomware victims everywhere from being exploited by cybercriminals,” the State Department said in a statement.
Washington provides $ 5 million for information leading to arrest or indictment in any country attempting to take part in the attack in conjunction with DarkSite.
Will this devaluation promise pay off? Some cybersecurity experts doubt it.
“In the absence of a bounty hunter who wants to go to the jurisdiction (hacker, editor’s note), I doubt it will have much of an impact if his unconscious body is put in a bag and dropped off at a nearby US embassy,” said John Bombenek of Netenrich, a computer company.
“To be honest,” he adds, “nothing hurts.”
According to experts in experienced cybercriminals, DarkSite steals confidential data from infected companies, often from Western countries, and demands money to “return” them.
Cyber crime is on the rise. According to new data released in October, US officials have reported $ 590 million in ransomware payments in the first half of 2021.
According to the U.S. Treasury Report, this figure is 42% higher than the amount released by financial institutions by 2020, and there are strong indicators that the actual cost will be in the billions.
Businesses and companies face intense pressure to pull out their wallets to open their data, but should not expose themselves to attacking their customers and officials who have issued stern warnings against giving money to criminals.