New research into the ransomware thieves who attacked the Colonial Pipeline shows just how much money they were able to extort during a fairly short crime spree: about $90 million in approximately seven months…say researchers with Elliptic, a blockchain analysis firm that specializes in tracking criminals.
In fact, DarkSide and its partners operated a network of 47 different wallets, each used to collect ransoms from multiple victims, Elliptic reported Tuesday. After the money changed hands, it was frequently funneled through crypto exchanges where it could be translated into fiat. In other cases, it was sent through Hydra, a popular European darknet marketplace that offers “cash-out services,” Elliptic researchers write. All told, affiliates gained some $74.7 million from the attacks, while DarkSide—as the developer—earned about $15.5 million.
“According to DarkTracer, 99 organisations have been infected with the DarkSide malware – suggesting that approximately 47% of victims paid a ransom, and that the average payment was $1.9 million,” writes Tom Robinson, Elliptic’s co-founder.
Not a bad gig if you feel like running the risk. We all know that crime pays. Just depends on whether or not you get away with it. In my hipster youth [1960’s definition, please], I knew more than a few criminals. They all put it in classic terms. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime!”