Home / News / World /  We turned the tables on Hive: US brings down ransomware gang

One of the world's biggest hacking groups, Hive, was hacked  in a joint US-German action to fail the gang from collecting more than $130 million in ransomware demands from around 300 victims, the FBI said on Thursday.

These victims included hospitals and school districts of the country. The ransomware gang is infamous for targeting healthcare organisations. During investigation, the data received from the websites was handed over to the victims coming from 80 countries across the world,reported Bloomberg.

Hive's servers were also seized by the German Federal Criminal Police and the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit.

The US government hackers used ethical methods to break into Hive's network to put the gang under surveillance, informed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco, at a news conference held on Thursday. This helped the government in getting access to digital keys used by the group to unlock the victim organisation's data.

"Using lawful means, we hacked the hackers," Monaco told reporters. “We turned the tables on Hive," they said.

The news of the take-down was first leaked when Hive's website was replaced with a flashing message, "The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized this site as part of coordinated law enforcement action taken against Hive Ransomware,", reported Reuters on Thursday.

In a statement from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg police, German police commissioner, Udo Vogel, said Intensive cooperation across national borders and continents strengthened by the mutual trust is the key to fight against cybercrimes.

How Hive’s take-down is different from other US high-profile ransomware cases ?

Recent hacking of the ransomware gang by the US authorities is different from its previous high-profile ransomware cases as this time, victims were saved from paying the ransom.

The US government's previous crackdown on hackers, like a cyber attack in 2021 against the Colonial Pipeline Co. resulted in the seizure of some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom after the company had already made the payment to the hackers.

This time, the government was able to intervene before Hive was able to demand the payments. The undercover infiltration, which started in July 2022, went undetected by the gang until now.

More than 1500 victims fell prey to ‘Hive’

According to the US Justice Department, Hive has targeted more than 1,500 victims in 80 countries and has collected more than $100 million in ransomware payments, reported Reuters.

The news agency also informed that the investigative agency is expected to make some arrests in the case in the coming time. Hive was responsible for a minimum of 11 ransomware incidents that involved US government organisations like schools, and healthcare providers last year, said Canadian researcher Brett Callow, of cybersecurity company Emsisoft.

"Hive is one of the most active groups around, if not the most active," he said in an email to Reuters.

(With agency inputs)

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