Classes Realized from DOJ’s Takedown of Hive Ransomware – Debevoise Information Weblog


On January 26, 2022, the FBI, DOJ, and worldwide regulation enforcement companions dropped a bombshell of an announcement: they’d dismantled the infrastructure of one of the crucial prolific ransomware teams. Hive Ransomware has lengthy been generally known as a particularly lively group, chargeable for many ransomware assaults, together with towards hospitals. However the full extent of the Hive community was unknown till DOJ unsealed the affidavit seizing the servers utilized by Hive. Maybe the largest bombshell revealed by DOJ was that for months the FBI has had entry to Hive’s pc networks and was capable of swipe decryption keys and go them on to victims of ransomware assaults. Deputy Legal professional Common Lisa Monaco referred to as this a “21st century cyber stakeout,” and defined that the FBI had “hacked the hackers.”

What We Realized from the Affidavit

  • Hive ransomware had over 1,500 victims all over the world. The listing of victims consists of hospitals, regulation corporations, monetary corporations, and college districts.
  • Hive ransomware makes use of the Ransomware as a Service (“Raas”) mannequin. This is among the commonest ransomware fashions at the moment and permits ransomware teams to actually apply organized crime. The central group (Hive) creates the ransomware pressure and distributes it utilizing an easy-to-use interface. Associates then use the ransomware software program towards victims, usually utilizing a double-extortion mannequin (knowledge exfiltration, adopted by encryption), demanding a ransom after deploying the ransomware. Associates break up the ransom fee 80/20 with the operators of the central group.
  • Hive ransomware had 250 associates.
  • The FBI was capable of receive decryption keys for 336 victims of Hive Ransomware since July 2022. In keeping with the FBI, this saved victims round $130 million in ransom funds.
  • Hive used a complicated community of servers, together with servers hosted in the USA, to speak with their associates, retailer sufferer info, talk with victims, and talk with different customers of the darkweb (by means of a shaming website used to determine victims who didn’t pay).

Three Takeaways from the Hive Takedown

  1. The FBI can present substantial help to victims of cyber crimes. We nonetheless hear trepidation from sure corporations about calling the FBI when affected by a cyber assault, resulting from each issues concerning the confidentiality of the knowledge and worry of changing into the goal of a regulation enforcement investigation. Reporting ransomware assaults to the FBI or different regulation enforcement is often not required (but). However this matter demonstrates the worth that the FBI can ship, together with by offering a working decryption key. The FBI can also share invaluable intelligence about menace actors corresponding to their modus operandi and certain candidates for attribution functions the place it’s murky – the kind of intelligence that may assist corporations resolve whether or not to have interaction with and, as a final resort, pay the menace actors.
  2. There’s hope in sight. The FBI’s takedown of 1 ransomware group’s infrastructure shouldn’t be going to magically cease ransomware assaults. There’s an excessive amount of cash at stake. However this operation demonstrates the ability of regulation enforcement to disrupt these operations. It’ll doubtless drive the operators to take better steps for operational safety or alter their “enterprise” setup, which may create better burdens on the ransom teams’ workflow, slowing them down.
  3. The ransomware teams are well-resourced. However the optimistic parts of the takedown, the FBI’s affidavit demonstrates the sophistication and breadth of ransomware operations – 1,500 victims, 250 associates – these are large numbers for only one ransomware group. Add to that the sophistication of their networks and it’s clear why they’re making a lot cash. Experiences of a slower 12 months in ransomware assaults could also be attributable to the hackers specializing in the battle in Ukraine, as a lot as it could be that the hackers have been taking a while off to benefit from the a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in extortion funds. However fall 2022 and early 2023 are demonstrating that the hackers are again at it.

To subscribe to the Information Weblog, please click here.


Luke Dembosky is a Debevoise litigation associate based mostly within the agency’s Washington, D.C. workplace. He’s Co-Chair of the agency’s Information Technique & Safety apply and a member of the White Collar & Regulatory Protection Group. His apply focuses on cybersecurity incident preparation and response, inside investigations, civil litigation and regulatory protection, in addition to nationwide safety points. He will be reached at


Avi Gesser is Co-Chair of the Debevoise Information Technique & Safety Group. His apply focuses on advising main corporations on a variety of cybersecurity, privateness and synthetic intelligence issues. He will be reached at


Erez is a litigation associate and a member of the Debevoise Information Technique & Safety Group. His apply focuses on advising main companies on a variety of complicated, high-impact cyber-incident response issues and on data-related regulatory necessities. Erez will be reached at

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *