A new online hub will make it easier for companies and municipalities to locate resources and get assistance if they are targeted by hackers, the U.S. government announced on Thursday.
At the same time, the government announced it would pay a reward of up to $10 million to anyone who can help it track down cybercriminals backed or directed by foreign governments.
The new website, StopRansomware.gov, is an initiative led by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
Historically, most of the resources and information organizations needed to deal with ransomware attacks had been dispersed across multiple websites, increasing the chance of missing critical information, the Justice Department said in a statement.
According to the website, it is “the first central hub for consolidated ransomware resources from all federal government agencies.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. is offering $10 million in rewards. Rewards for Justice Program of the State Department. According to the department, a dark web channel has been set up to protect any tipsters coming forward with information. Cryptocurrency may be used to pay rewards.
A ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline earlier this year led to widespread shortages at gas stations along the East Coast of the United States following the launch of the new website and the $10 million rewards.
Colonial Pipeline was later able to recover some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransoms paid by hackers with the help of the Justice Department.
About $350 million in ransom was paid to cybercriminals in 2020, a more than 300% increase from the previous year, the department said.
According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Department of Justice is committed to protecting Americans from the rise in ransomware attacks in recent years.