The U.S. State Department on Friday announced a $ 15 million reward for information on Conti’s notorious ransom gang, which has been accused of cyber-blackmail attacks around the world.

The department offers a reward of up to $ 10 million for any information leading to the identification or location of people who hold a key leadership position in the Conti gang.

An additional $ 5 million is offered for any information that leads to the arrest or conviction of a Conti member in any country who conspired or attempted to participate in an incident by buying a Conti option.

“By offering this award, the United States is demonstrating its commitment to protecting potential victims of ransomware around the world from exploitation by cybercriminals.” That’s what State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

He added that Conti had infected more than 1,000 victims who had paid more than $ 150 million in ransoms by January 2022, making it the most expensive ransom strain ever documented.

The awards are offered as part of the Transnational Organized Crime Awards Program (TOCRP), which is managed by the State Department in close collaboration with other federal law enforcement partners. The main goal of the program is to destroy and eradicate transnational organized crime, including cybercrime, around the world.

In November 2021, the department offered similar cash prizes for finding individuals associated with the buyout software REvil and DarkSide, which were used in high-profile attacks last year against Kaseya and Colonial Pipeline.

Conti is a Russian-speaking ransomware gang known for running a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) business model to extort money from victims. The group is considered one of the most active cybercrime organizations in the world due to its involvement in the development of various families of malware.

Conti began its attacks in 2019 and has since been accused of ransomware attacks against a number of companies in the United States and Europe.

In May 2021, Conti launched an attack on the executive director of health services in Ireland, causing weeks of disruption in hospitals in the country.

Ireland has refused to pay the $ 20 million ransom and now expects the attack to cost them $ 100 million to recover.

It was “perhaps the worst attack on the Irish state,” according to Irish Secretary of State Ossian Smith.

Last month, Conti also claimed responsibility for an attack on Costa Rica’s government networks.

In February, Conti group’s internal discussion diaries leaked to the public for the first time since the gang announced support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A security researcher nicknamed “Conti Leaks” reportedly hacked the gang’s internal Jabber / XMPP server and sent internal log files to a number of security researchers and journalists.

The leaked files contained thousands of messages from January 21, 2021 to February 27, 2022, and also included information about previously undiscovered victims, bitcoin addresses, URLs of personal data breaches and discussions about the gang’s actions.

Following the expiration of Conti’s chat messages, the researcher also released the source code for an old version of Conti’s ransomware, which is dated September 15, 2020.

A month later, the researcher published more source code from Operation Conti ransomware.

https://www.computing.co.uk/news/4049351/us-offers-usd-million-reward-information-helps-identify-conti-ransomware-hackers

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