NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Ransomware financially hurts thousands of companies and victims, including last fall at CHI St. Alexius here in North Dakota. But now, the U.S. Justice Department just disrupted the Hive Ransomware group, which is responsible for targeting more than 1500 victims.

According to the DOJ, the FBI has penetrated Hive’s computer networks in Los Angeles, captured its decryption keys, and offered them to victims, making sure they would not have to pay up to $130 million in ransom demanded. These ransomware criminals acted like a network of bees, hence calling them a “hive,” sending out drones to target companies that contain some sensitive data about people, like hospitals and governments.

“The Justice Department will spare no resource to identify and bring to justice anyone, anywhere who targets the United States with a ransomware attack,” says Attorney General Merrick Garland. We will continue to work both to prevent these attacks and to provide support to victims who have been targeted.”

CommonSpirit Health was formed by the merger of Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives in 2019, which contain the CHI Health Entities here in North Dakota.

Federal agents noticed that the hospitals most at risk were the ones part of a large merger and acquisition in recent years. The FBI found that companies share a lot of information with each other during those mergers, making themselves more vulnerable.