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US offers $10 million reward for Russia-linked cybercrime DarkSide ransomware group

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The Biden administration is offering a reward of as much as $10 million for information that helps identify or track down leaders of the notorious DarkSide ransomware group, officials announced Thursday.

US law enforcement has said the Russia-linked group is behind the ransomware attack that crippled Colonial Pipeline Co. in May. The attack shut down a 5,500-mile long pipeline that provides fuel to the East Coast, leading to gas shortages. The company ultimately paid the ransom.

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The State Department said it’s also offering as much as $5 million for information that leads to the arrest or conviction -- in any country -- of people “conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in an attack using DarkSide’s ransomware.

Like many other ransomware groups, DarkSide offered its hacking tools to so-called affiliates, who could then wage their own attacks. Such schemes are known as ransomware-as-a-service.

In a June summit, President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Russian hackers should steer clear of 16 critical infrastructure sectors, which includes energy companies such as Colonial.

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