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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.

Authors

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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Crypto

‘It was hard to breathe’: Zhengzhou flood terror as train submerged

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China’s Zhengzhou is sinking, with thousands trying to flee

Desperate passengers have tried to flee a Chinese subway station drowning in floodwater, as Zhengzhou cops record rainfall.

In one train carriage, water seeped in and rose from ankle to waist, to then, neck height.

Panicked commuters stretched upwards to breathe, while others lifted shorter people into the shrinking air pocket above.

Terrifying videos published on social media captured the moment some passengers stood on chairs and clung to the ceiling, hoping not to drown.

One tried to smash a window, before realising that there was even more water outside the carriage

“I can’t speak any more,” one woman wrote on the social media site Weibo. “If no rescue comes in 20 minutes, hundreds of us will lose our lives.”

Another woman who gave her name as “Ms. Li ” told Elephant News. “We were all standing on the seats, and the water was already on our knees,”

After about an hour, the train carriage was plunged into darkness and the oxygen level dropped significantly as people started to panic.

“I was really scared”

Some shorter passengers had water up to their necks, adding that as time went on the air supply began to diminish.

After several hours of fear and uncertainty, rescuers were able to gain access through the roof of the carriage and pulled people out. “We knocked on the glass a bit [on the ceiling]. Then suddenly there was air,” an unnamed woman told state broadcaster CCTV.

Hundreds saved from flooding subway tunnel

Hundreds of people were eventually saved from the flooded subway tunnel in Zhengzhou. The city has a population of more than 10 million people, and many take public transport.

Chinese scientists say global warming has made the situation more dangerous and warn that extreme weather could become more frequent in the future.

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Bitcoin bounces back as Musk announces Tesla to accept crypto again

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Bitcoin has risen by more than 8 percent, rebounding after erasing most of its gains, with Ether and Dogecoin also moving into the green

It follows Tesla CEO Elon musk reiterating his backing of cryptocurrencies and confirming he owns multiple coins.

Musk also says Space Exploration Technologies Corp owns Bitcoin, just like Tesla.

“It looks like bitcoin is shifting a lot more toward renewables and a bunch of the heavy-duty coal plants that were being used…have been shut down, especially in China,” said Musk at an event hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation.

However Musk continued saying that “one thing you do need to watch out for with crypto, especially bitcoin, using proof of work, using energy that’s a bit too much and not necessarily good for the environment.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 21: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk arrives at “Revenge Of The Electric Car” Premiere held at Landmark Nuart Theatre on October 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

“I want to do a little more due diligence to confirm that the percentage of renewable energy usage is most likely at or above 50% and that there is a trend toward increasing that number. If so, Tesla will most likely resume accepting bitcoin,” he said.

Will the bounce up stay?

Since May, most cryptocurrencies have tumbled dramatically, with around $1.3 trillion wiped from the market value.

Bitcoin has faced numerous challenges in recent times… including regulatory scrutiny in China, Europe and the U.S.

Authorities around the world are concerned about the level of energy needed by the computers that undermine the entire network.

“Long-term, renewable energy will be the cheapest energy, but it doesn’t just happen overnight,” Musk added. “But as long as there is a conscious and determined, real effort by the mining community to move toward renewables, then obviously Tesla can support that.”

Analysts also believe investors are also becoming increasingly more cautious about sceptical assets.

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Crypto suffers huge losses across the board – but can they recover?

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Bitcoin has fallen bellow $30,000 for the first time since June, and Ethereum is suffering huge losses across the board. Could this be the end of crypto?

Around 98 billion dollars was wiped off the entire cryptocurrency market in 24 hours, in what comes as huge losses for crypto investors.

Bitcoin is down more than 6%, and Ethereum fells almost 9%. Since bitcoin’s all-time high of nearly $65,000 in mid-April, its price has plunged over 50 percent

The co-founder of one of the earliest rivals to bitcoin has sensationally abandoned the cryptocurrency market, sending prices tumbling.

Ethereum has dropped massively in recent days. Picture: CoinDesk
Ethereum has dropped massively in recent days.

Co-founder leaves Ethereum

The crash follows Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio making a dramatic exit from the crypto world at the end of last week. The Canadian entrepreneur says he plans to sell his Toronto-based blockchain company Decentral.

Di Iorio said he believes the startup is worth “hundreds of millions.” He plans to sell the company for fiat, or equity in another company rather than crypto.

Di Iorio financed Ethereum at its inception. Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. Ether, the native token of the network, has a market value of about $225 billion.

Ethereum is home of many of the hottest crypto projects, especially in decentralized finance. This allows people to borrow, lend and trade with each other without intermediaries like banks.

“It’s got a risk profile that I am not too enthused about”

He told Bloomberg he was leaving crypto behind because he was tired of feeling unsafe. He plans to redirect his focus on philanthropy in the future.

“I don’t feel necessarily safe in this space,” said Di lorio. Since 2017, a security team has escorted him whenever he leaves his house.

Forbes evaluated his net worth at about US$1 billion in 2018. The value of Ethereum has more than doubled since then. For now, crypto enthusiasts will need to wait and see whether the loss continues.

Author

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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