(Presidentialwire.com)- This week, the Department of Justice announced that they have been conducting an ongoing disruption campaign against the notorious ransomware group called Hive for several months, including infiltrating the group’s computer networks and capturing decryption keys.
Ransomware software prevents a user from accessing computer files until a ransom is paid.
According to the Justice Department, Hive hackers used a “double-extortion model of attack” that both steals sensitive data and encrypts the files on a victim’s system. Hive affiliates would then seek a ransom both for the decryption key necessary to decrypt the system and for a promise that Hive would not publish the stolen data.
Once the victim pays, Hive affiliates and administrators divided the ransom 80/20. For those who do not pay, Hive would publish the data on the Hive Leak Site.
Since July, the FBI has penetrated Hive’s computer networks, capturing over 300 decryption keys and providing the keys to Hive victims sparing them from having to pay the $130 million in ransom fees demanded.
Additionally, the FBI distributed more than a thousand other decryption keys to previous Hive victims.
And the FBI did it all without Hive being aware of it.
In total, the FBI provided decryption keys to about 1,300 victims, preventing Hive from extracting ransom fees. The bureau identified more than 1,500 victims in over 80 countries that were targeted by Hive. Hive extorted more than $100 million in ransom fees.
Working with German law enforcement and the Netherlands National High Tech Crime Unit, the Justice Department also seized control of the servers and websites Hive uses to communicate with its members, disrupting its ability to launch ransomware attacks.
In a press release on Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Department of Justice would “spare no resource to identify and bring to justice, anyone, anywhere, who targets the United States with a ransomware attack.”