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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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Crypto

Celsius Network propped up token with investor money

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It’s been revealed crypto lender Celsius used investor money and customer deposits to prop up its own token and inflate its balance sheet

 
Celsius gathered crypto deposits from retail customers and invested them in the wholesale crypto market.

It raised some of the initial capital to fund its business by creating and then selling its own crypto token.

Celsius filed for bankruptcy in July last year, after freezing customer withdrawals from its platform.

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Business

Binance & Mastercard to launch prepaid crypto card in Brazil

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Binance has launched a prepaid crypto card in Brazil in partnership with Mastercard

 
The card will be available to all Binance users in Brazil with a valid national ID, and allow them to make payments and pay bills with 13 cryptocurrencies.

The product is now in a soft-launch phase and “will be widely available in the coming weeks”.

Brazilian consumers are popular crypto users, as nearly half have made made at least one crypto transaction in the past year.

This isn’t the only South American nation to have the partnership between the two financial giants, as Argentina also has a similar offering.

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Crypto

South Korea to introduce virtual asset tracking system for crypto

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The South Korean Ministry of Justice has announced it is introducing a ‘virtual asset tracking system’

The aim will be to strengthen the tracking of money laundering and recovery of criminal proceeds using cryptocurrency.

Three-quarters of illegal foreign exchange transactions in South Korea are crypto-related.

The ministry will use the tracking system to check and monitor transaction records, extract details on the relationship between transactions, and confirm fund sources before and after transfers.

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