ISLAMABAD ( JAVED MAHMOOD )
The US State Department will offer rewards up to $10 million for information leading to the identification of anyone engaged in foreign state-sanctioned malicious cyber activity against critical US infrastructure including ransomware attacks and the White House has launched a task force to coordinate efforts to stem the ransomware scourge.
The Biden administration is also launching the website stopransomware.gov to offer the public resources for countering the threat and building more resilience into networks, a senior administration official told reporters.
Another measure being announced on Thursday to combat the ransomware onslaught is from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the Treasury Department.
It will engage banks, technology firms and others on better anti-money-laundering efforts for cryptocurrency and more rapid tracing of ransomware proceeds, which are paid in virtual currency.
Officials are hoping to seize more extortion payments in ransomware cases, as the FBI did in recouping most of the $4.4m ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline in May.
The rewards are being offered under the State Department’s Rewards for Justice programme.
It will offer a tips-reporting mechanism on the dark web to protect sources who might identify cyber attackers and/or their locations, and reward payments may include cryptocurrency, the agency said in a s