Information security specialists noticed that at the end of last week, the funds of the DarkSide hack group began to move: the attackers hastily moved about $7 million to other wallets.
Moreover, with each new transaction, a smaller amount is transferred, which makes it difficult to track money.
CEO and co-founder of Profero first noticed the transfer process, and announced on Twitter that 107 bitcoins (about $7 million) from the group’s wallet had moved to another wallet. He emphasized that the money is clearly controlled by the hackers themselves, since the secret services usually simply move the seized assets to a new wallet under their control, and do not try to break the funds into smaller pieces.
As the blockchain analysis company Elliptic reported a little later, the DarkSide cryptocurrency passes through different wallets, and in the process the amount has already decreased from 107.8 BTC to 38.1 BTC. This is a typical money laundering scheme that makes it difficult to track funds and it helps criminals to convert cryptocurrency to fiat. According to Elliptic, this process is still ongoing, and small amounts have already been transferred to well-known exchanges.
Interestingly, DarkSide funds were set in motion shortly after the media reported that law enforcement was behind the cessation of another well-known hack group, REvil, by attacking the criminals’ infrastructure.
The fact is that DarkSide has also received a lot of attention, especially last summer when it hacked one of the largest pipeline operators in the United States, Colonial Pipeline. This incident forced the American authorities to introduce an emergency regime in a number of states and became the very straw that could break the back of a camel: the attention of law enforcement agencies to ransomware increased, and on hacker forums they rushed to ban advertising of ransomware altogether.
A week after the attack, and the government’s much unwelcome attention to hackers, DarkSide announced it would cease operations. Then the group claimed that it had lost control of some servers and cryptocurrency wallets (that is, its own money). However, in July, the hackers rebranded themselves by launching a new infrastructure and malware called BlackMatter.
It looks like now, after what happened to REvil, hackers want to make sure they don’t lose their funds a second time. Moreover, a few days earlier, the American authorities issued a warning about BlackMatter’s activities, stating that the ransomware had already attacked “several critical US infrastructures.”