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Ransomware hackers donate 1.76 Bitcoin (BTC) to charities

The Water Project and Children International received 0.88 BTC from the hacker group called Darkside.

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

Thu, 22 Oct 2020, 04:52 am UTC

Two charities just received a total of 1.76 Bitcoin (BTC) in donations from a very unexpected source. The donations came from a group of hackers who donated a small portion of their stolen funds obtained through ransomware saying that they want “to make the world a better place.”

The donations came from a group called Darkside who claimed they extorted millions of dollars from a number of companies, BBC reported. The group donated a total of 1.76 BTC, worth around $22,400, to Children International and The Water Project.

The hackers even posted tax receipts for its cryptocurrency donations in a blog post, according to Bitcoin.com. The Water Project, a charity that aims to improve access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa, received 0.88 BTC worth around $11,200.

Meanwhile, Children International likewise received 0.88 BTC from the hacker group. The charity, which aims to fight poverty by supporting children, families, and communities, operations in the U.S., Colombia, the Philippines, Ecuador, Zambia, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic.

“We think that it's fair that some of the money the companies have paid will go to charity,” Darkside wrote in the blog post. “No matter how bad you think our work is, we are pleased to know that we helped changed someone's life. Today we sended (sic) the first donations.”

The hackers claimed that they only targeted large profitable firms with ransomware. The group added that they would not target charities, schools, hospitals, and governments.

But Children International doesn’t intend to keep the donated cryptocurrency. “If the donation is linked to a hacker, we have no intention of keeping it,” a spokesperson of the charity told BBC. The only problem is that they have no way or returning the Bitcoin to Darkside.

The group’s charity donations puzzled security experts as this is the first time cybercriminals gave back a portion of their loot through charity. “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,” 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,” Callow added. “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.”

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