The cryptocurrency industry will never fall short of cybercriminals, with hackers having plagued the industry for years, stealing billions of dollars in funds. Whenever we hear the term Cybercriminal and hacker we relate to ‘taking’ rather than ‘giving’, but a mysterious hacking group is now being referred to as ‘Robin Hood’ for reportedly donating around $20,000 in stolen Bitcoin to charity.
According to receipts posted by the hackers on a dark web blog post, the group known as Darkside has donated $10,000 in Bitcoin to The Water Project and Children International. Screenshots of transactions were also posted by the group.
Cryptocurrencies have gained massive popularity amongst cybercriminals because of its privacy-enhancing properties, hence the perfect tool for criminals to be used as ransom in cases of extortions.
Ransomware attacks employ this tactic the most, where victims’ files are encrypted and only unlocked if Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are paid to hackers.
The Darkside is responsible for acquiring millions of dollars in ransomware attacks on companies, and they say they want to “make the world a better place”.
In a blogpost, the hackers have claimed to only target large profitable companies. They also wrote:
“We think that it’s fair that some of the money the companies have paid will go to charity.No matter how bad you think our work is, we are pleased to know that we helped change someone’s life. Today we sended (sic) the first donations.”
The Robin hoods among cybercriminals
Children International is a charitable organization supporting children, families, and communities in India, the Philippines, Colombia, Ecuador, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States.
A spokesperson from Children international said:
“If the donation is linked to a hacker, we have no intention of keeping it”.
The sudden act of kindness from cybercriminals has baffled even analysts because in almost all of these scenarios the hackers are pretty ruthless. Brett Callow, Threat Analyst at cyber-security company Emsisoft, said:
“What the criminals hope to achieve by making these donations is not at all clear. Perhaps it helps assuage their guilt? Or perhaps for egotistical reasons they want to be perceived as Robin Hood-like characters rather than conscienceless extortionists.”
“Whatever their motivations, it’s certainly a very unusual step and is, as far as I know, the first time a ransomware group has donated a portion of their profits to charity,” he added.