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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

Go deeper

DOJ investigating city of Phoenix and Phoenix police department

Phoenix Police confront demonstrators in 2017. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced in a press conference Thursday it is opening a "pattern or practice" investigation into the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department.

Driving the news: The Justice Department's probe comes after the Biden administration reversed a Trump policy of not investigating police departments. It looks into several possible violations exhibited by the city's police department:

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
3 hours ago - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.