Jul 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

State Department offers $10 million in rewards for cyber crime information

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaking at a summit on July 13 in Washington, D.C.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking at a summit on July 13 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Jim Watson/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department said Thursday it's offering up to a $10 million reward for information to help identify or locate anyone engaged in foreign state-sanctioned malicious cyber activities, including ransomware operations, against critical infrastructure in the United States.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is devising a collection strategies to get ahead of cyber criminals after several U.S. businesses have been ambushed by a flood of ransomware campaigns.

  • The reward is part of the department's Rewards for Justice program, which has paid more than $200 million to people who gave information that helped prevent terrorism and resolved national security threats against the U.S.

What they're saying: The department said it has set up a website on the dark web through which potential sources can offer tips anonymously.

  • The information will then be processed and evaluated, and reward payments may include cryptocurrency, it noted.

The big picture: The White House has formed a governmental task force to coordinate measures to prevent and retaliate against ransomware operations.

  • The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security also launched a new website Thursday, StopRansomware.gov, that will serve as a centralized hub for ransomware resources for victims.
  • The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is now working with banks and tech companies to crack down on cryptocurrency money-laundering schemes and to improve the tracing of ransomware payments, according to AP.

Go deeper: Assessing the size of the Kaseya ransomware attack

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