US offers $10m bounty for Colonial Pipeline hackers

  • Published
Out Of Gas sign posted at a petrol stationImage source, Reuters

The United States government has offered a bounty of up to $10million (£7.4m) for information about the hacking group known as DarkSide.

In May, a DarkSide ransomware attack shut down a vital 5,500-mile-long fuel pipeline on the east coast of the US.

The pipeline carries 45% of the fuel used on the east coast.

The bounty is offered for information which can lead to the "identification or location of any individuals" in a leadership position with DarkSide.

A separate $5m reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of anybody "conspiring to participate" in a DarkSide ransomware attack.

The cyber-attack caused fuel shortages after the Colonial Pipeline company shut down its operations for several days.

It eventually paid the $4.4m ransom in Bitcoin.

This Twitter post cannot be displayed in your browser. Please enable Javascript or try a different browser.View original content on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Skip twitter post by Rewards for Justice

Allow Twitter content?

This article contains content provided by Twitter. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. You may want to read Twitter’s cookie policy, external and privacy policy, external before accepting. To view this content choose ‘accept and continue’.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
End of twitter post by Rewards for Justice

However, US authorities later said 63.7 Bitcoin, the majority of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline, had been recovered.

$10m is the largest bounty ever offered for the arrest of a specific cyber-criminal.

The ignominious record was previously held by Maksim Yakubets, the alleged mastermind behind another ransomware gang called Evil Corp.

The US named and shamed him (along with help from the UK authorities) in 2019.

Before that, the record bounty stood at $3m for another alleged cyber-crime boss called Evgeniy Bogachev.

The thing these individuals have in common?

They are thought to be living care-free lives in Russia safe from any prospect of arrest from the local police, who routinely ignore western accusations against Russian hackers.

Even with their names, pictures and a rough location published by the US, these alleged criminals are safe.

The US seems to have even less to go on in terms of unmasking DarkSide's leaders, although most research suggests they are also in Russia.

So, despite the eye-watering sums being offered by the US, the chances of these criminals facing justice are slim.