Hackers donate stolen money to NGOs: “we think it is fair”

A group of hackers donates stolen money to charity: a first that has puzzled cybercrime experts. Darkside hackers claim to have extorted millions of dollars from companies but now say they want to “make the world a better place”, according to BBC reports.

In a post on the Dark web, the gang posted receipts for $10,000 of Bitcoin donations to two charities. One of them, Children International, says she will not keep the money. This decision by the hackers is considered strange, both morally and legally.

In a blog post posted on October 13, hackers claim that they are only targeting large profitable companies with their ransomware attacks. These attacks hold corporate computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid.

According to the BBC post, the hackers wrote: “We think it is fair that part of the money paid by companies goes to charity. It doesn’t matter if you think our actions are wrong, we are happy to know that we have made a difference in someone’s life. Today we sent (sic) the first donations.”

The cybercriminals posted the donation along with the tax receipts they received in exchange for the 0.88 bitcoin they sent to two charities, The Water Project and Children International.

Children International supports children, families, and communities in India, Philippines, Colombia, Ecuador, Zambia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States. A spokesperson for Children International told the BBC: “If the donation is from a hacker, we have no intention of keeping it.”

The Water Project, which works to improve access to safe drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa, did not respond to requests for comment.

Hackers issued their tax receipt
Hackers issued their tax receipt
Another receipt was posted on the dark web indicating a donation
Another receipt was posted on the dark web indicating a donation

For Brett Callow, an analyst for cybersecurity firm Emsisoft: “It is not at all clear what the criminals hope to get by making these donations. Maybe it helps them free themselves from guilt? Or maybe for selfish reasons, they want to be seen as heroes. like ‘Robin Hood’ rather than like people who extort money without scruples.”

“Whatever their motives, this is certainly a very unusual move, and it is, to my knowledge, the first time that a group of hackers has donated part of their profits to charity.

The Darkside hacker group is relatively new to the scene, but analysis of the cryptocurrency market confirms that they are actively extorting funds from their victims.

BBC Africa
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