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U.S. and International Cybersecurity partners Hack the Hackers

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday at the news conference that the FBI and international partners have hacked ransomware gangsters who have infiltrated schools and hospitals and held them hostages to extort significant amounts of money. At the conference, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and other government officials stated the measure of how the sting operation worked. According to Yahoo Finance, “Simply put, using lawful means, we hacked the hackers,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a news conference.

Officials said that the targeted syndicate Hive is one of the top five ransomware networks that has attacked the healthcare system. FBI Director Christoper Wray stated that the FBI placidly accessed its control panel in July and was able to obtain software keys it used with German and other partners to decrypt networks of some 1,300 victims globally. Yahoo Finance cited the article from AP.

Officials didn’t say in detail how it plans to bring justice down upon the well-organized syndicate of ransomware gangs but continue to operate the mission to eventually succeed in prosecuting them. On Wednesday night, FBI agents seized computer servers in LA used to support the network. Two Hive dark websites were captured: One used for leaking data of non-paying victims, the other for negotiating extortion payments.

This infiltration saved at least $ 130 million and was one of the big successes of this sting operation. “Cybercrime is a constantly evolving threat, but as I have said before, the Justice Department will spare no resource to bring to justice anyone anywhere that targets the United States with a ransomware attack,” Garland said. He said the infiltration, led by the FBI’s Tampa office, allowed agents in one instance to disrupt a Hive attack against a Texas school district, stopping it from making a $5 million payment.

This Hive gang used ransomware as a service tool targeting a wide range of businesses,  critical infrastructure, government, manufacturing, and healthcare systems. Hive ransomware broke into 1,300 companies worldwide from June 2021 to November 2022, and obtained about $100 million in payments. Only 20% reported potential issues have been identifiable to law enforcement, Wray said. “Here, fortunately, we were still able to identify and help many victims who didn’t report. But that is not always the case,” Wray said. “When victims report attacks to us, we can help them and others, too.”

It has been announced that some entities would pay hackers for the stolen data without notifying public officials as revealing this information could often lead to decreased trust in the company’s cybersecurity safety and expose it to lawsuits and other backlashes by the public.

37 nations have begun to work for this global task force this week, and it is led by Australia which has been attacked by ransomware that hit major medical insurers and telecom in recent years.

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