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Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department had disrupted a cyber criminal network responsible for extorting hundreds of millions of dollars from Americans, as well as having attacked critical infrastructure and some of the nation's "most important industries," as reported by Politico.
More than 1,500 people were victims of extortion schemes from the group called "The Hive," which held critical data hostage from government institutions and organizations like hospitals and schools.
The attorney general said that the Justice Department assisted approximately 300 people around the world from July 2022 to early 2023, claiming to have stopped the cyber criminals from obtaining a payment of $130M.
“Cybercrime is a constantly evolving threat, but as I have said before, the Justice Department will spare no resources to identify and bring to justice anyone, anywhere who targets the United States with a ransomware attack,” said Garland.
Garland also noted that the group was behind attacks on a midwest hospital, which caused the health system to stop accepting new patients, forcing them to pay a ransom in order to have the group decrypt its health data.
According to Politico, this case could possibly be in reference to the Memorial Health System that operates in West Virginia and Ohio, which was attacked by Hive affiliates around the same time.
The Hive was also linked to an attack on Costa Rica's health care system in mid-2022. At the time, the Costa Rican president declared a state of emergency after suffering from cyber attacks just a week prior.
Using a court order, the Justice Department managed to seize two servers from the ransomware group from a location in Los Angeles., and took control of its darknet website.
“A reminder to cybercriminals: No matter where you are, and no matter how much you try to twist and turn to cover your tracks — your infrastructure, your criminal associates, your money and your liberty are all at risk, and there will be consequences,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said at the press conference.
The FBI says the operation took over a year and a half, with personnel accessing the group's control panels to obtain passwords, which were then used to unlock information that was taken from victims.
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