Earlier today, the FBI and the Secret Service seized the dark web leak website of the Hive ransomware gang. The criminal enterprise behind Hive appears to be the target of a coordinated crackdown.
“Today’s announcement is only the beginning. We’ll continue gathering evidence, building out our map of Hive developers, administrators and affiliates. We’ll use that knowledge to drive arrests, seizures and other operations,” said Christopher Wray, director of the FBI at a press conference in Washington, D.C. According to the Department of Justice press release “Since late July 2022, the FBI has penetrated Hive’s computer networks, captured its decryption keys, and offered them to victims worldwide, preventing victims from having to pay $130 million in ransom demanded. Since infiltrating Hive’s network in July 2022, the FBI has provided over 300 decryption keys to Hive victims who were under attack. In addition, the FBI distributed over 1,000 additional decryption keys to previous Hive victims. Finally, the department announced today that, in coordination with German law enforcement (the German Federal Criminal Police and Reutlingen Police Headquarters-CID Esslingen) and the Netherlands National High Tech Crime Unit, it has seized control of the servers and websites that Hive uses to communicate with its members, disrupting Hive’s ability to attack and extort victims.” Here is the latest picture of Hive Ransomware Data Leak Website captured by NetSecurity experts.
The FBI has won a significant victory here, given that Hive has extorted over $100 million from more than 1,300 organizations around the world. According to federal authorities, the Hive ransomware gang has reaped more than $100 million in ransom payments since June 2021. One of the U.S. victims, Garland said, was a hospital in the Midwest, whose systems were locked, preventing it from accepting patients during the COVID-19 epidemic. In ransomware attacks, malicious software is installed on targeted computers to encrypt and hold hostage critical data. Furthermore, the takedown illustrates the international crackdown on ransomware threat actors, making it more difficult for them to target organizations in the future. The move also coincides with intensifying geopolitical tension surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war, with the U.S. joining Germany in sending tanks.
Cyber security experts warn that there’s still much to do to curb Russian state-backed cybergangs’ impunity, which allows them to engage in international criminal activity without fear of prosecution. The FBI’s crackdown on Hive could significantly damage the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) economy by hampering one of the most prolific groups when considering that only a handful of threat actors are responsible for the majority of high-profile ransomware breaches, such as Hive, Black Basta, and LockBit. Hive’s website being taken down in the short term may result in a decrease in the volume of ransomware. Hive’s operations being disrupted would have an enormous impact, especially considering the fact that the revenue generated by ransomware threat actors is already steadily declining. This is because they have dropped from $765.6 million in 2021 to $456.8 million in 2022. Further reducing this total will be achieved by staggering one of the most prolific actors in the market.
Despite this being good news for United States organizations, it is crucial to understand that the threat actors behind the Hive ransomware group are still on the loose. Ransomware attacks remain profitable forms of cybercrime. Organizations must invest in cyber resilience against attacks of this nature.
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