U.S. offers $10 million reward in hunt for DarkSide cybercrime group

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(Reuters) -The U.S. State Department on Thursday announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of anyone with a key leadership position in DarkSide, a cybercrime organization the FBI has said is based in Russia.

The FBI has said DarkSide was responsible for the May cyber attack targeting the Colonial Pipeline, causing a days-long shutdown that led to a spike in gas prices, panic buying and localized fuel shortages in the U.S. Southeast.

The State Department also said it is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any person attempting to participate in a DarkSide ransomware incident.

"In offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting ransomware victims around the world from exploitation by cyber criminals," the department said in a statement.

Colonial Pipeline has said it paid the hackers nearly $5 million in Bitcoin to regain access to its systems. The U.S. Justice Department in June recovered about $2.3 million of the ransom.

The State Department in July offered a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of any person who, while acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, participated in malicious cyber activities against U.S. critical infrastructure.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Will Dunham)

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