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Justice Department says FBI disrupted Hive ransomware group

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a press conference at the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Department Building on October 24, 2022. He announced the disruption of the Hive ransomware group. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 3 | Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a press conference at the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Department Building on October 24, 2022. He announced the disruption of the Hive ransomware group. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The Justice Department announced Thursday an international effort to disrupt the ransomware group Hive, including seizing their servers overseas, taking control of several websites and giving decryption keys to victims so they can unlock stolen digital property.

The department said the FBI infiltrated Hive's network in July 2022 and captured decryption keys, allowing more than 300 victims to recover files Hive had previously locked up and held for ransom.

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Along with authorities in Germany and the Netherlands, the department said it has taken control of servers and websites Hive had used to communicate with its members, which harmed the group's ability to carry out attacks.

"Last night, the Justice Department dismantled an international ransomware network responsible for extorting and attempting to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from victims in the United States and around the world," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

"Cybercrime is a constantly evolving threat. But as I have said before, the Justice Department will spare no resource to identify and bring to justice, anyone, anywhere, who targets the United States with a ransomware attack."

FBI Director Christopher Wray said his agency has been "relentless" in pursuing the ransomware network.

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"Following months of decrypting victims around the world, [this] shows what we can accomplish by combining a relentless search for useful technical information to share with victims with investigation aimed at developing operations that hit our adversaries hard," Wray said.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said the effort has saved victims more than $130 million in ransom payments by providing them with captured decryption keys.

"We will continue to strike back against cybercrime using any means possible and place victims at the center of our efforts to mitigate the cyber threat," Monaco said.

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