The federal government department is offering up to US$10mln in rewards to hackers that offer information leading to the identification of any persons engaged in “malicious cyber activities against US critical infrastructure”
The US State Department is offering ‘White Hat’ hackers up to US$10mln in cryptocurrency as a reward for helping the American government track down suspected terrorists or hackers backed by enemy nations.
A White Hat, also known as an ethical hacker, specialises in testing computer security systems for potential flaws that can then be remedied by the targeted organisation in order to prevent similar infiltration by malicious hackers in the future.
Under its ‘Rewards for Justice’ (RFJ) programme, the State Department said it will offer up to US$10mln for “information leading to the identification or location of any person who, while acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, participates in malicious cyber activities against US critical infrastructure”.
It added that it will offer reward payments in crypto as well as “possible relocation” to eligible sources who report on any malicious cyber activity. Any tips will be submitted through a secure portal on the dark web, part of the internet that is not accessible through mainstream search engines.
The issue of White Hat hackers made headlines in the crypto industry last week after a hacker stole US$600mln worth of crypto from the Poly Network, a decentralised finance (DeFi) project that links blockchain networks together, in what is widely considered to be the largest hack of its kind in history.
However, while some claim the hacker is acting ethically due to statements saying they are not interested in the funds themselves and are planning to return the haul, they have yet to repay the massive sum, leading others to speculate whether they will use the funds to orchestrate further hack attacks on Poly or other networks.
Poly itself has offered a reward of US$500,000 if the hacker (or hackers) returns the funds, however, this appeared to have been declined by the hacker earlier this week.