REvil ransomware gang’s websites disappear, prompting speculation

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Comes just a week after a massive hit on Kaseya

Websites run by the ransomware gang REvil suddenly became unreachable this week, sparking widespread speculation that the group had been knocked offline.

Last week, we updated you on a supply chain attack by the notorious ransomware gang that locked up the systems of hundreds of organisations in one fell swoop after a malicious update was pushed out to customers of IT management software firm Kaseya on Friday. 

The hackers had gained access to the servers for Kaseya’s popular VSA platform and injected a copy of the REvil ransomware into an automatic update that was delivered to Kaseya customers over the weekend.  

Over its notorious history, the Russia-linked cybercrime ring has collected tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments in return for restoring computer systems it has hacked.

The sprawling Kaseya hit, for instance, affected an estimated 800 to 1500 businesses worldwide.

It is not clear at this point whether the site’s disappearance is momentary, whether the hackers have just “given up” (like others have recently) and “downed tools” or been removed from the internet by someone else.

Both the group’s payment portal and its blog, which named and shamed their victims who refused to pay the ransoms they demanded, were unreachable.

The White House declined to comment, but speculation exists that activity by American authorities may have something to do with the sudden disappearance.

The disappearance is not necessarily significant as vanishing acts are common in the ransomware world, where gangs tend to disappear and rebrand when they begin attracting too much heat.

REvil was already drawing top-level US government attention, and pressure has been mounting on Washington to take more decisive action against REvil and groups like it.

This comes off the back of a set of high-profile hacks by ransom-seeking cybercriminals, including an intrusion into Colonial Pipeline which disrupted gasoline deliveries across the East Coast. President Joe Biden has already hinted that the United States could take more aggressive action soon where ransomware was concerned.

He confirmed that it would “make sense” to attack the Russian servers used in such intrusions.

For the head of one cybersecurity company, the possibility that someone – the US government or otherwise – knocked the group offline raised some concerns.

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.

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