A new ad from the US State Department was presented to attendees at the Black Hat Hacker Conference in Las Vegas. According to people who accessed government advertisements on an open Wi-Fi network called #Rewardsnotransoms, they discovered that the US government is offering crypto rewards to those who disclose information about malicious government-sponsored hackers .
US State Department advertises “Rewards for Justice” at Black Hat 2021 in Las Vegas
The never-ending war on terror continues as the United States government focuses on state-sponsored cybercriminals who have attacked US infrastructure or created terrorist organizations. Last week, reporters and attendees at the Black Hat hacker conference in Las Vegas said the US government, particularly the State Department, is promoting a new program called Rewards for Justice (RFJ). CNN news agency was the first to spread the news after Black Hat attendees said they saw government QR code advertising on t-shirts and flyers.
Created by the State Department, the web portal offers whistle-blowers revealing information about government-sponsored cybercriminals up to $ 25 million. Members of the U.S. law enforcement agency believe informants are lured in by crypto payments, and most offers are between $ 3 million and $ 10 million. A special reward for Ayman al-Zawahiri, an al-Qaeda leader, is $ 25 million in digital currency.
“We worked on it for quite a while and it came at a very good time that we managed to get this in place because critical infrastructure and ransomware were at the top of the news cycle, so to speak, and a big problem for us.” “A diplomatic security officer overseeing the RFJ told CNN. Hackers can even access the RFJ web portal through the anonymous Tor web browser.
US Diplomatic Security Officer: “We’re actually delivering suitcases full of cash”
The news that the US State Department is paying informants with crypto assets to betray malicious hackers follows the recent discovery of Antinalysis, a “blockchain analysis tool launched on the dark web”. In addition, the US government has offered to pay hackers to break the Monero (XMR) network obfuscation. Seducing hackers with crypto is nothing new, and the official told CNN the government has been paying for tips this way for two years.
“It’s not a quick process. We get tips. We evaluate tips. We’ll share these tips with the cross-agency partners. They then have to use this information and come forward and begin their investigation, ”the official stressed. “This is a longer-term process,” said the unknown source from the US Diplomatic Security Service. Interestingly, the official revealed that in the past, before cryptocurrencies were rewarded, suitcases full of cash were used to pay informants.
In addition to the newly introduced crypto rewards, the diplomatic security official said they are still using old-school payment methods as well. “We offer transfers, we can actually still deliver suitcases full of cash – and deliver – we can provide rewards,” the official concluded. According to the US government, reports from the RFJ led to the conviction of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef.
What do you think of the State Department offering crypto-awards to informants that reveal information about nation-state-sponsored cybercriminals? Let us know what you think on this matter in the comments below.
Photo credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
Disclaimer of liability: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement for any product, service, or company. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author are directly or indirectly responsible for any damage or loss caused or allegedly caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.