DarkSide Hackers: Did US Force Its Shutdown? Is it Regrouping in Another Banner?

Hacking gang DarkSide, which was behind the devastating Colonial Pipeline attack in the US that caused crippling shortage of gas across the country, is disbanding.

In a rare move for ransomware groups, DarkSide has said it is shutting down its operations, international media reported, citing security analysts.

Clark County School District came under cyberattack last month (representational image) Pixabay

After the criminal group launched a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline, which carries 45 percent of the fuel supplies for the eastern US, the network nearly collapsed, creating panic among people. According to The New York Times, 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.

Now, the hacking group has told its hacking associates that it is shutting down, WSJ repoted, citing security research firms. It also reported that a website operated by the ransomware gang has already shut down.

OIl Pipeline
US oil pipeline - Representational Wikimedia Commons

According to the report, DarkSide has said it is shutting down as it has lost access to the infrastructure it uses for running its operation.

It is speculated that it is feeling the heat from law-enforcement agencies, most probably from the US.

Whatever, be the case, security analysts estimate that it is morel likely that the hackers will regroup and resume operations under a different banner. It has been ppinted out that ransomware groups rarely disband permanently and go underground.

The ransomware attack encrypted patient data at the hospital (representational image) Pixabay

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.
Related topics : Ransomware