The US government has taken a significant step in the fight against cybercrime by announcing a $5 million bounty on members of the Hive ransomware gang. This move, the second of its kind within a year, comes following the FBI’s claim to have dismantled the criminal network around 11 months ago.
The State Department has reiterated its commitment to offering up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of key leaders within the Hive organization. Additionally, the FBI has added a $5 million reward for details leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals involved in Hive ransomware activities.
These rewards follow a coordinated operation by the FBI and international law enforcement, which led to the seizure of Hive’s servers and websites after seven months of undercover surveillance. By providing decryption keys to over 1,300 victims worldwide, the FBI prevented approximately $130 million in ransom payments and dealt a significant blow to Hive’s operations.
Despite these efforts, cybercriminals continue to profit from extortion demands, with new players entering the scene regularly. According to Chainalysis, ransomware groups collected over $1 billion in cryptocurrency payments from victims in 2023, a sharp increase from previous years.
While the takedown of Hive likely contributed to a decrease in ransomware payments in 2022, the full impact remains uncertain. While the FBI estimated averting $130 million in payments, Chainalysis suggests the figure could be higher, potentially exceeding $210 million.
These developments underscore the ongoing battle against cybercrime and emphasize the crucial role of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the private sector in protecting individuals and organizations from online threats.