The U.S. State Department has announced that the Rewards for Justice program will provide bounties of up to $10 million for anyone who provides useful information about individual members of the Conti ransomware gang. Wanted persons identified by their handles include Professor, Reshaev, Tramp, Dandis and Target.
The U.S. State Department has been able to identify the identity of one of the alleged perpetrators, and a public photo has been released showing a middle-aged man wearing a hat with ear flaps, a black T-shirt and a dark-coloured jacket.
“Today marks the first time that the US government has publicly identified a Conti operative. That photo is the first time the U.S. government has ever identified a malicious actor associated with Conti,” said an anonymous State Department official.
The official said the State Department is seeking information ranging from the names of the individuals to their physical whereabouts to their vacation and travel plans.
Conti is a dangerous ransomware operation that has targeted more than 1,000 organizations and is said to have earned more than $180 million in 2021 alone.
The group, often known as WizardSpider or part of the broader Trickbot cybercriminal gang, is run and organized like any small or medium-sized business. Conti and the broader Trickbot group are believed to have more than 100 different members. Leaked chats showed that members ask for leave, are regularly paid and are professional in their approach to extorting victims.