During the investigation, international authorities reportedly recovered over 1,000 decryption keys.
International law enforcement groups, including the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Europol, have dismantled the crypto-ransomware group Hive.
According to the announcement shared by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, during the operation, law enforcement managed to recover 1,300 decryption keys and keep victims from paying $130 million in ransomware payments.
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In the announcement, the FBI revealed that, together with its international partners, the Bureau dismantled Hive’s “front- and back-end infrastructure in the US and abroad.”
Christopher Wray highlighted that US authorities were working shoulder to shoulder with the German Reutlingen Police Headquarters, the German Federal Criminal Police, the Netherlands National High Tech Crime Unit, and Europol to successfully seize Hive’s websites and recover funds.
The FBI's Director revealed that law enforcement managed to infiltrate undercover agents, which gained “clandestine, persistent” access to Hive’s control panels and managed to help victims to recover their funds.
However, Wray noted that only a fraction of victims reported ransomware attacks to law enforcement.
Unfortunately, during these past seven months, we found that only about 20% of Hive’s victims reported potential issues to law enforcement. Here, fortunately, we were still able to identify and help many victims who didn’t report in. But that is not always the case.
At the end of its announcement, Director Christopher Wray noted that it is “only the beginning.” FBI Director highlighted that the Bureau will continue to work with international partners to gather evidence, build out the map of “Hive developers, administrators, and affiliates, and that knowledge to drive arrests, seizures, and other operations.”
It is worth noting that Hive was behind a number of ransomware attacks around the world. For example, in April 2022, Hive hacked Cost Rica’s social security fund and public health service. The malicious actors locked access to digital infrastructure and asked for $5 million in Bitcoin (BTC) to restore access to infrastructure.