- The State Department will begin offering dark web informants rewards in cryptocurrency
- Informants providing “identification or location of any person who” is described as a threat can receive rewards of up to $10 million
- This program falls under the Rewards for Justice (RFJ) scheme which has been in existence since 1984 and has handed out rewards of over $150 million to more than 100 informants
- Erez Liebermann, a former Justice Department cyber crimes prosecutor, believes the policy has already been in existence but has only now been made official
The ‘dark web’ or ‘invisible web’ are parts of the World Wide Web whose contents are invisible to standard web search engines. Although not entirely evil, the dark web has become synonymous with cybercrime, criminal services, espionage, drug and gun dealings, illegal collectibles, animals, human trafficking, credit card numbers, and other criminal services.
State Department to Pay Informants in Crypto
To curb their activities, the United States State Department is offering dark web informants cryptocurrency bounties in exchange for information on hackers seen as threats to the country. Informants who want a hefty crypto portfolio now have the opportunity.
The State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program offers up to $10 million for 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 U.S. critical infrastructure.”
Rewards for Justice
The Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program was launched in 1984 and has been active since then. According a report, over 100 informants have received rewards exceeding $150 million for providing “actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.”
The State Department is now willing to pay informants in cryptocurrencies and, according to a State Department official, this new initiative comes as it tries to envelop every chance in reaching audiences, sources, and people who may have information that helps improve the security of the United States.
Erez Liebermann, a former Justice Department cyber crimes prosecutor, opines that this moveis a little surprising. According to the cyber crimes prosecutor, the government has previously “used cryptocurrency to pay undercover informants or sources.”
On The Flipside
- As the cryptocurrency industry experiences a boom, hacks and scams have grown alongside, threatening its growth
- According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 14,079 investment scams were reported in the first quarter of 2021
- DeFi hacks are also growing, with Poly Network and DAO Maker being the recent headline victims
The Vegas Push
The move from the State Department comes just after the Vegas Push. Over the last week, hackers and cybersecurity experts from around the world descended on Las Vegas for the famous cyber conference ‘Black Hat’.
The State Department featured its new initiative at the event with an open Wi-Fi network called “#Rewardsnotransoms.” Leaving an open Wi-Fi network at such an event was a humorous and purposeful decision. Logging into the network or scanning QR codes on free T-shirts and flyers took attendees to the State Department’s page offering the rewards.
Why You Should Care?
In 2020 the darknet contributed to $20 billion in economic losses, businesses, and governments. The decision to reward informants could potentially reduce the amount lost as a result of dark web activities. It could also be instrumental in tackling other criminal activities such as terrorism financing and weapons proliferation that takes place on the dark web