The US Department of State is expanding the capabilities of its Rewards for Justice program. Payments for information about cybercriminals can now be carried out in cryptoassets.
According to a statement on the US Department of State’s website, the agency is offering rewards of up to $ 10 million for information leading to the identification of anyone who, at the direction or control of a foreign government, is involved in cybercrimes against critical US infrastructure.
“Rewards can be paid in cryptocurrency,” the US Department of State said.
A State Department spokesman confirmed that “this is the first time since the program was launched in 1984 that Rewards for Justice rewards can be paid in cryptocurrency.”
This initiative follows the announcement by the US government to create a task force to combat ransomware viruses. Ransomware hackers came to the attention of regulators after an attack on the Colonial Pipeline operator of the largest fuel supply system in the United States, which led to a fuel shortage.
The company paid the hackers $ 5 million in cryptocurrency, but the US Department of Justice returned to the Colonial Pipeline part of the bitcoins paid to the hackers, and the US Congress began to investigate the payment of cryptocurrencies to extortionists.
“The Rewards for Justice program has created a Tor-based darknet channel to keep potential sources safe,” the State Department said in a statement citing Tor.