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FBI Offers Decryption Tool to Victims of BlackCat Ransomware Group


Florida - Thursday December 28, 2023: The U.S. Department of Justice Department has announced a disruption campaign against the BlackCat ransomware group that has targeted the computer networks of more than 1,000 victims, including the St. Lucie County Tax Collector.

Over the past 18 months, BlackCat has emerged as the second most prolific ransomware-as-a-service variant in the world based on the hundreds of millions of dollars in ransoms paid by victims around the world. Due to the global scale of these crimes, multiple foreign law enforcement agencies are conducting parallel investigations.

The FBI developed a decryption tool that allowed FBI field offices across the country and law enforcement partners around the world to offer over 500 affected victims the capability to restore their systems. To date, the FBI has worked with dozens of victims in the United States and internationally to implement this solution, saving multiple victims from ransom demands totaling approximately $68 million. As detailed in a search warrant unsealed today in the Southern District of Florida, the FBI has also gained visibility into the Blackcat ransomware group’s computer network as part of the investigation and has seized several websites that the group operated.

BlackCat affiliates have gained initial access to victim networks through a number of methods, including leveraging compromised user credentials to gain initial access to the victim system. More information about the malware, including technical information about indicators of compromise and recommendations to mitigate its effects, is available from the FBI at

Victims of BlackCat ransomware are strongly encouraged to contact their local FBI field office at for further information and to determine what assistance may be available.

According to the unsealed warrant, BlackCat actors have compromised computer networks in the United States and worldwide. The disruptions caused by the ransomware variant have affected U.S. critical infrastructure – including government facilities, emergency services, defense industrial base companies, critical manufacturing, and healthcare and public health facilities – as well as other corporations, government entities, and schools. The loss amount globally is in the hundreds of millions and includes ransom payments, destruction and theft of proprietary data, and costs associated with incident response.

BlackCat uses a ransomware-as-a-service model in which developers are responsible for creating and updating ransomware and for maintaining the illicit internet infrastructure. Affiliates are responsible for identifying and attacking high-value victim institutions with the ransomware. After a victim pays, developers and affiliates share the ransom.

BlackCat actors employ a multiple extortion model of attack. Before encrypting the victim system, the affiliate will exfiltrate or steal sensitive data. The affiliate then seeks a ransom in exchange for decrypting the victim’s system and not publishing the stolen data. Blackcat actors attempt to target the most sensitive data in a victim’s system to increase the pressure to pay. Blackcat actors rely on a leak site available on the dark web to publicize their attacks. When a victim refuses to pay a ransom, these actors commonly retaliate by publishing stolen data to a leak website where it becomes publicly available.

The FBI Miami Field Office is leading the investigation.

Additional information regarding law enforcement’s ongoing investigation into Blackcat is available at

If you have information about Blackcat, their affiliates, or activities, you may be eligible for a reward through the Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program. Information can be submitted through the following Tor-based tip line (Tor browser required): he5dybnt7sr6cm32xt77pazmtm65flqy6irivtflruqfc5ep7eiodiad.onion.