Uncle Sam sweetens the pot with $15M bounty on Hive ransomware gang members

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The US authorities has placed an other $5 cardinal bounty connected Hive ransomware pack members – its 2nd specified reward successful a year. And it besides comes a small complete 11 months since nan FBI said it had unopen down nan criminal organization's network.

On Thursday, nan State Department reaffirmed it will salary up to $10 cardinal for accusation starring to nan recognition and/or location of anyone holding aliases held "key" activity positions successful nan organized crime crew. The FBI has besides put up an further $5 cardinal grant for accusation starring to nan apprehension and/or condemnation of immoderate personification "conspiring to participate successful aliases attempting to participate successful Hive ransomware activity."

The multi-million-dollar rewards travel a small much than a twelvemonth aft nan FBI, moving pinch world rule enforcement, seized power of nan gang's servers and websites pursuing a seven-month covert surveillance operation.

The FBI was arsenic a consequence yet capable to supply decryption keys to much than 1,300 existent and erstwhile victims of Hive astir nan globe, redeeming them a corporate $130 cardinal successful ransomware payments and "crippling Hive's expertise to sting again," FBI head Christopher Wray boasted astatine nan time.

A fewer days later, nan State Department offered a $10 cardinal reward for intel connected Hive ransomware criminals' identities and whereabouts, moreover seeking accusation connected Hive members "acting nether nan guidance aliases power of a overseas government."

The crew, which appeared successful 2021, is believed to person ties to nan Russian state.

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Despite this and different high-profile take-downs of cyber-gangs, online crooks proceed to make a sidesplitting from their extortion demands, pinch dozens of newbies entering nan fray past twelvemonth alone.

Chainalysis, successful its 2023 reappraisal published this week, estimated that ransomware crews raked successful more than $1 billion successful extorted cryptocurrency payments from victims past year, compared to $567 cardinal successful 2022.

The cryptocurrency analytics patient besides noted that nan Hive takedown apt played a non-trivial domiciled successful nan 2022 driblet successful ransomware payments, which different person been escalating since 2019.

The FBI's $130 cardinal estimate "may not show nan full story," nan study noted, because it only takes into relationship ransoms straight averted by nan decryptor keys. For its part, Chainalysis reckoned nan Hive bust much apt averted astatine slightest $210.4 cardinal successful ransomware payments. 

"During nan six months nan FBI infiltrated Hive, full ransomware payments crossed each strains deed $290.35 million," Chainalysis observed. "But our statistical models estimate an expected full of $500.7 cardinal during that clip period, based connected attacker behaviour successful nan months earlier and aft nan infiltration – and that's a blimpish estimate." ®