Ransomware Groups Never Perish, They Reincarnate


It is no longer a matter of shock that ransomware attacks have surged over the past few years,  the technological advancements have proved to be a boon for them. Ransomware is indeed a malware type that encodes the files of the victim. The offender subsequently asks the victim to make payment in order to regain access to the encrypted information as he explains the directions to make payment and receive the decryption key. 

Several ransomware organizations are now in the phase of their third incarnation. In the cybercrime sphere, reinvention is a key survival technique. The earliest techniques include the fake death or retirement and then subsequently the invention of a new identity. A fundamental objective of such a ruse is to make researchers focus their attention temporarily elsewhere. 

The DarkSide, which collected a $5 million payment from the Colonial Pipeline earlier last year, is only one of the most intriguing and newest reinventions to see much of this crushed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Once someone noticed that their Internet servers had indeed been seized, DarkSide stated that it was collapsing. However, just over a couple of months later, BlackMatter was created, a new affiliate ransomware operation, and specialists immediately found out that BlackMatter was using the same unique form of encryption used by DarkSide. 

The downfall of DarkSide occurred closely with that of REvil, a long-term ransomware gang claiming more than 100 million dollars from victims. Kaseya, a Miami-based corporation, was REvil's last major victim. This exploit allowed REvil to disseminate ransomware to as many as 1500 Kaseya using organizations. REvil called upon all victims of Kaseya's attack to pay a $70 million amount for decryption. 

REvil too is commonly regarded as a boost-up for GandCrab, a prominent ransomware group with over $2 billion in extortion for 12 months before it shut down in June 2019. 

The latest ransomware start-up "Grief" was only the current DoppelPaymer paintwork, which matched most of its code with a previous iteration named BitPaymer in 2016. All three were created by a renowned cybercriminal organization, known as TA505, 'Indrik Spider' and Evil Corp.

Mark Arena, CEO of cyber threat intelligence company Intel 471, stated that whether BlackMatter is a new name for the REvil group, or merely a rebirth of DarkSide, is uncertain. “Likely we will see them again unless they’ve been arrested,” Arena further added.