A group of hackers is giving stolen funds to charity in what can be seen to be a puzzling and rare occurrence within the profit-obsessed cybercriminal industry.
The hacking group, known as DarkSide hackers, are said to have stolen millions of dollars from corporate entities, but are now claiming that they want to “make the world a better place”.
It is reported that the cybercriminals made a darknet post announcing their decision to donate their spoils to charity. According to receipts shared by the group, DarkSide hackers have since sent about $10,000 in cryptocurrency to two non-profit organizations.
According to screenshots posted by the BBC, DarkSide hackers have shared details about their donation, including the tax receipts they received in exchange for the 0.88 Bitcoin they transferred to two non-profit entities.
Children International, a charity that works in support of children, families and communities across the developing world, is among the organizations that DarkSide sent a Bitcoin donation.
The non-profit’s mission is to fight patterns of poverty by addressing various critical needs through early childhood intervention through various community centers in India, the Philippines, Colombia, Zambia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Honduras.
The Water Project, whose mandate is to enable sub-Saharan villages to access water and sanitation services through community projects, is also reported to have received a crypto donation from the group of hackers.
Expectedly, the DarkSide move has sparked both legal and moral concerns across different circles.
While speaking to the press, a Children International spokesperson intimated that the organization has chosen to turn down the donation – they reported that the organization will not accept funds from a hacker.
Who Are They?
According to cybersecurity observers, the DarkSide hacker group happens to be a “new kid in the block” within the cybercriminal industry of threat actors looking to maliciously target corporate entities and government agencies for profit.
Nonetheless, scans carried out across the crypto market indicates the DarkSide’s active status, including its possible connection to other threat groups responsible for orchestrating high-profile cyberattacks on organizations like Travelex, which suffered a costly malware attack in January.
In all right, DarkSide is reported to be quite conservative in how it operates, seemingly being observed to be indifferent to cutting edge innovation. Instead, the hacker group is always copying the tactics, techniques and methods being used by other cybercriminal factions in many ways.
Reportedly, DarkSide’s operations compare greatly to the standard procedures being employed worldwide. The host of analysts who have trailed the hacking group seem to agree on the fact that DarkSide operations overlap with that of their peers.
Otherwise, a few distinguishing properties can be detected in their high specialization when targeting victims, customized ransomware deliverables and their rather corporate-like outlook to attack communication.
DarkSide Used The Giving Block
The hackers’ mode of funds transfer may instigate law enforcement concerns about the manner in which the cybercriminals sent Bitcoin to the two organizations.
It turns out that DarkSide employed The Giving Block, a U.S.-based financial service that is popular service among 67 different non-profit organizations across the world.
Founded in 2018, The Giving Block prides itself in being “the only non-profit specific solution for accepting crypto donations” and serving “millions of millennial and Gen-Z users”. The platform was created to provide a platform for successful businesspeople to benefit from tax incentives through crypto-enabled charity.
At this point, The Giving Block maintains that their lack of awareness of the criminal nature of the hacker group’s donation. The service also confirmed their intention to execute a verification process to ascertain that the donations were indeed made from stolen funds – The Giving Block will return the money to rightful owners.