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Russian REVIL cyber gang disappears after demanding $70M in Bitcoin

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The REVIL ransomware group has mysteriously disappeared from the web without a trace after demanding a $70M ransom payout in Bitcoin

The infamous ransomware group REVIL has mysteriously vanished without a trace.

Websites and other digital infrastructure that belonged to the hackers, who are believed to be from either Eastern Europe or Russia, went dark on Tuesday.

Information security blog Bleeping Computer says ” All REVIL sites are down, including payment sites and data leak pages”.

Biden promises ‘consequences’ for Russian hackers

It’s unclear why the group has gone dark, but it comes after US President Joe Biden told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that there would be ‘consequences’ if the Kremlin didn’t address the ongoing spate of ransomware attacks.

Biden has previously stressed the importance of addressing hacks, acknowledging their threat to critical infrastructure that is relied on by Americans. However, speculation is still mounting as to why REVIL has suddenly disappeared.

Cybersecurity firm Exabeam told CNN, “this outage could be criminal maintenance, planned retirement, or, more likely, the result of an offensive response to the criminal enterprise’.

REVIL gang demands $70M in Bitcoin ransom

This comes after the group asked for a $70M ransom in Bitcoin from victims of a recent hack. They promised to release a ‘universal decryptor key’ to all victims if anyone was willing to pay the ransom.

The REVIL gang posted a blog entry on its personal website on the dark web taking credit for the audacious cyber attack on MSP providers in the US which they claim affected over a million systems.

“Everyone will be able to recover from the attack in less than an hour,” the post read.

Will the companies pay the ransom?

The general advice from cyber-security experts is to not pay hackers to retrieve their data, because it encourages future attacks.

However, John Hammond from Huntress Labs doesn’t believe the situation is so simple. The cybersecurity firm Huntress Labs Inc is leading the investigation into the attack.

“This is an extremely intricate and tough situation,” he said in a private Twitter message to Ticker reporters.

“You have to make the decision that is best for your business,” he said.

The Kaseya cyber attack

The attack targeted more than 20 managed service providers (MSP). Yesterday, Huntress Labs anticipated the hack had affected more than 1000 businesses, which expectations that the figure would grow based on reports from the providers and a Reddit thread tracking the hack.

“It’s reasonable to think this could potentially be impacting thousands of small businesses,” tweeted John Hammond from Huntress Labs. Hammond says the attack targeted a software supplier called Kaseya.

Biden has sinced called for US intelligence to conduct a “deep dive” into the attacks. “We’re not sure it’s the Russians,” he said. “The initial thinking was, it was not the Russian government, but we’re not sure yet.”

Sweden closes up shop

Another victim of the attack is Sweden, which has seen around 500 supermarkets unable to trade.

Coop Sweden has closed half of its 800 stores after its point-of-sale tills and self-service checkouts stopped working just before the weekend.

The supermarket itself was not targeted by hackers. However, because it uses on of the affected MSPs it too has fallen victim to the attack.

Cybersecurity becomes and international security issue

This comes as the latest in a string of ransomware attacks in recent months, including the attack on JBS. Experts have also attributed the JBS attack to the REvil cyber gang.

It also comes shortly after President Joe Biden signed an executive order to strengthen cybersecurity defences across the US.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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Tech

X panic as viral hoax claims Gmail is shutting down

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A hoax statement purportedly issued by Google claimed that the search giant was shutting down its ubiquitous Gmail service — sending the internet into a panic.

The fake news release, which appeared to be addressed to the 1.8 billion users of the service worldwide and was posted on X, stated: “Google is sunsetting Gmail. After years of connecting millions worldwide, enabling seamless communication, and fostering countless connections, the journey of Gmail is coming to a close.”

The notice, featuring the company’s logo, emerged shortly after Google announced it was pausing the release of its text-to-image AI tool Gemini following outcry over the software rendering factually and historically inaccurate images.

The statement even provided a specific date — Aug. 1, 2024 — as the deadline until which Gmail users would “be able to access and download all your emails.”

It ominously added, “After this date, Gmail accounts will become inaccessible.”

Spread quickly

The hoax swiftly spread across social media platforms, although many users were quick to identify it as false.

However, speculation arose that the hoax may have originated from Chris Bakke, a self-described tech entrepreneur known for internet pranks.

Bakke has a history of internet pranks, including using a photoshopped news article about McDonald’s Hamburglar to mock a New York Times profile of convicted Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, as reported by Business Insider.

Email platform

Gmail, with a user base of 1.8 billion people representing one-fifth of the world’s population, remains the most popular email platform globally.

Despite criticisms of Google’s privacy policies, including accusations of scanning user messages for targeted advertising, the company has affirmed its commitment to Gmail.

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Tech

U.S. lands on Moon after last-minute glitch

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A last-minute communications glitch caused tension at NASA as the fate of the lunar lander hung in the balance.

However, cheers erupted at mission control as NASA confirmed the successful landing of the space lander, Odysseus, on the moon’s surface.

After a nail-biting delay of about ten minutes, NASA announced that Odysseus had touched down at 10:23 AEST, marking a historic moment in space exploration.

“We are on the surface,” declared Tim Crain, the chief technology officer leading mission control. “Odysseus has a new home,” he added, eliciting jubilation from NASA staff.

Successful landing

This successful landing not only marks a significant achievement for NASA but also for American firm Intuitive Machines, which becomes the first private company to accomplish a lunar landing.

It is also the first successful US landing on the moon since the Apollo missions half a century ago.

The spacecraft, aptly named Odysseus, initiated its powered descent to the moon’s surface earlier in the morning.

This milestone achievement comes after fellow US company Astrobotic was forced to abandon its own moon landing attempt in January due to a fuel leak.

Odysseus, the private lunar lander, had been in orbit around the moon as it aimed for a precise touchdown on Friday.

Its journey began six days ago from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, culminating in a historic moment for space exploration and the burgeoning private space industry.

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Tech

Will doctors turn to AI to help fix professional burnout?

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Doctors across the United States are grappling with burnout, staffing shortages, and excessive administrative burdens, according to a recent survey.

However, amidst these challenges, many physicians express optimism about the potential of artificial intelligence to alleviate these issues, the survey found.

Commissioned by Athenahealth, a provider of cloud-based healthcare tools, the survey unveiled that more than 90% of physicians experience burnout regularly.

The primary driver behind this burnout is cited as excessive administrative tasks, with 64% of doctors feeling overwhelmed by paperwork requirements.

Read more – social media dubbed the least trusted industry

Over 60% of respondents admitted to considering leaving the medical field due to these challenges.

Manage workloads

Physicians are resorting to spending an average of 15 hours per week working beyond their regular hours to manage their workloads, a phenomenon often referred to as “pajama time.”

Additionally, nearly 60% of doctors expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of in-person time they have with patients, while over 75% reported feeling burdened by patients’ excessive communication demands outside scheduled visits.

The survey also shed light on the challenges faced by healthcare organizations, with 78% of physicians acknowledging the impact of poor staff retention and shortages within their workplaces. Furthermore, less than 40% of doctors expressed confidence in their employers’ financial stability.

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