There was news last week that the notorious hacking group disbanded after the US law enforcement pursued them following the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline. Whether they have done so remains a mystery but what's clear is that they've already amassed millions of dollars from ransomware attacks on far too many companies.
According to Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, the bitcoin wallet of DarkSide got millions of dollars worth of ransom payments in the last nine months. Over the last one year, the hackers made at least $90 million in ransom payments from 47 companies, a report by the Daily Mail said.
Average Ransom Payment Was $1.9 Million
While the money extorted from each company varied, the average payment was around $1.9 million, the report said, citing Elliptic.
Some of the high-profile companies that came under attack were fashion label Guess and Toshiba, according to Dark web intelligence firm DarkTracer.
The attack on Colonial Pipeline had paralyzed gas supplies in vast swathes of the United States. Colonial carries 45 percent of the fuel supplies for the eastern US. The pipeline is 8850 kms long and carries jet fuel and refined gasoline from the Gulf Coast to New York, transporting some 2.5 million barrels daily. It's systems went offline following the ransomware attacks, taking gas off the grid and causing a crippling gas shortage for several days.
What Do We Know About DarkSide?
- DarkSide makes ransomware hacking tools and they are known to be targeting corporates from western countries.
- DarkSide follows "ransomware as a service" business model, according to o Boston-based Cybereason.
- It has offered to DarkSide also maintains that it will donate a portion of its profits to charities.
- According to Cybereason, DarkSide's usual ransom demands range from $200,000 to $20 million.
- Though a relatively new group, DarkSide has proved to be extremely dangerous as they too dpwn the gas logistics infrastructure of Colonial Pipeline, which supplies fuel to large a swathe of the country.
- DarkSide hackers also develop and market ransomware hacking tools, and sell them to associates who launch criminal activities.
- DarkSide is completely money oriented and have no states political objectives. We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for our motives,"
- In an intriguingly ironic gesture, DarkSide published its own code of conduct for its customers wherein it states its 'ethical' standards.
- It says that it does not target hospitals, hospices, schools, universities, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.