America launches website and announces $10 Mn. reward to fight ransomware attacks: Anonymity assured through Bitcoin payments and Dark Web submissions

Ransomware Attacks
The U.S. Government takes affirmative action against Ransomware Attacks and their creators? Pic credit: Christiaan Colen/Flickr

The United States Government is now actively combating the growing threat of ransomware attacks. The Federal Government has launched StopRansomware.gov website and offering up to $10 Million to informants.

A central repository for collected intelligence, and monetary rewards, could help fight the growing menace of ransomware attacks, feels the American government. The central administration is also assuring anonymity through payments in Bitcoin and submissions of tips on the Dark Web.

American Government launches StopRansomware.gov website to share information on ransomware attacks with businesses:

Ransomware attacks have grown exponentially. Even more concerning is the fact that malicious code writers are increasingly going after larger companies and service providers.

The attacks on JBS Foods, the largest meat producer in the world, on Colonial Pipeline – the main fuel supply line for the U.S. East Coast, and Kaseya, are just some examples of high-profile targets.

To help share information, and offer businesses data that could help them build adequate defenses, the U.S. Government launched the StopRansomware.gov website.

The website could help private and public entities mitigate the ransomware threat. The U.S. government assures the website will have information about ransomware gathered from all federal government agencies.

StopRansomware.gov will regularly offer guidance, latest alerts, updates, and resources on ransomware attacks, indicated U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

“StopRansomware.gov includes resources and content from DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services.”

Anonymous submissions on the Dark Web and payments in Bitcoin to encourage citizens around the world?

The U.S. Department of State has had a Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program since 1984. The program will now “incentivize reports of foreign malicious activity against U.S. critical infrastructure”.

The American Government is offering up to $10 Million to anyone who offers reliable information on malicious code writers. More specifically, the government is looking for “persons that act on behalf of a foreign government in malicious cyber operations.”

“The actions may include extortion as part of a ransomware attack, stealing information from protected systems, and knowingly causing the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer.”

The U.S. Department of State also noted, “Protected computers include not only U.S. government and financial institution computer systems, but also those used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication.”

To protect the identity or ensure anonymity, the Department of State has set up a tips-reporting service on the Dark Web. Additionally, payments through the RFJ program could be in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin.

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