We usually hear about data breaches and ransom attacks, but little news about the success of law enforcement.  Here is an example of a recent success of the FBI. 

The FBI secretly infiltrated the infamous Hive ransomware group over seven months to frustrate its attempts to extort ranson from over a thousand victims. The US Attorney General has now announced that it has managed to covertly infiltrate’s Hive’s networks, and disrupted ransom campaigns worth $130 million.

Officials said the targeted syndicate, known as Hive, operates one of the world’s top five ransomware networks and has targeted hospitals and other health care providers.

The FBI quietly gained access to its control panel in July and was able to obtain software keys to decrypt the network of some 1,300 victims globally, said FBI Director Christopher Wray. Officials credited German police and other international partners. “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.

“We will continue to work both to prevent these attacks and to provide support to victims who have been targeted. And together with our international partners, we will continue to disrupt the criminal networks that deploy these attacks,” said US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

It was not immediately clear how the takedown will affect Hive’s long-term operations, as officials did not announce any arrests but said they were building a map of Hive’s administrators, who manage the software, and affiliates, who infect targets and negotiate with victims, to pursue prosecutions. “Cybercrime is a constantly evolving threat, but as I have said before, the Justice Department will spare no resource to bring to justice anyone anywhere that targets the United States with a ransomware attack,” said Garland.

The infiltration was led by the FBI’s Tampa office, from where agents were able to disrupt a Hive attack against a Texas school district, stopping it from making a $5 million ransom payment.

It’s unclear how the FBI broke into Hive’s networks. During a press conference, US Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco would only say: “Simply put, using lawful means we hacked the hackers.”

Hive is considered to be a Russia – base hacking group, a country that refuses to extradite criminal suspects to the US. The ransomware gang came on the scene in 2021 and has since targeted over 1,500 victims across the globe and received $100 million in ransomware payments, according the US Jstice Dept.

Source: Cyber Security Intelligence