When you're looking for a criminal, but can't seem to find him anywhere, what do you do?
You don't lure him out by offering him an opportunity he wouldn't want to miss, why would you do that? Instead, you put a bounty on his head, start posting his picture with the word WANTED above his forehead and hope that someone, somewhere, will spot him and come to claim his prize.
That's exactly what the FBI has done in the case of Evgeniy Bogachev, a Russian wanted for his cyber-crimes.
The FBI considers him one of the world’s most prolific and brilliant cyber criminals, but it's been 10 months since his indictment, and they still haven't tracked him down.
Evgeniy Bogachev is now worth $3 million (£2 million), and according to federal officials, he won’t be the last cyber-criminal on the wanted list. The same strategy might be used for other persons whose whereabouts are unknown, or who are holed up in nations that have little or no diplomatic relations with the United States.
"We've really not done something like this" in cyber cases, Robert Anderson, an FBI executive assistant director, said in announcing the reward. "All of a sudden, somebody's putting an 'x' on somebody, saying, 'Bring him to justice, you get $3 million,” Phys.org reports (opens in new tab).
The reward is also a reminder of how many accused masterminds of cyberattacks on U.S. targets remain out of reach for federal law enforcement.
Shawn Henry, a retired executive assistant director of the FBI and president of CrowdStrike Services, a security technology company, said it's challenging to find suspects in cyber cases, and a reward can attract tips. But other tactics, such as negotiations among governments, also are needed to deter attacks, he said.