The Eastern European cyberterrorist group DarkSide, which claimed responsibility for a hack that shut down fuel supplies across the Southeast US, may have bitten off more than it can chew.
Days after the group offered a semi-apologetic statement for holding hostage the Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline via ransomware, it announced that it was disbanding, reported the Epoch Times.
It said it had been raided by law enforcement and lost much of its equipment and financial assets.
“In view of the above and due to the pressure from the US, the affiliate program is closed,” the announcement read, according to a translation from the original Russian.
“Stay safe and good luck,” it continued. “The landing page, servers, and other resources will be taken down within 48 hours.”
Some remained skeptical, indicating that it was most likely a stunt and not a complete disbanding.
The move “is almost certainly a rebranding attempt to avoid the heat,” wrote Robert Lee, co-founder and CEO of Dragos, on Twitter.
Although the group reportedly received a $5 million ransom from Colonial Pipeline, concerns about the fuel shortage—roughly a year after similar shortages of essential goods like toilet paper and hand sanitizer—led to panic-buying and gas-hoarding that left nearly 16,000 gas stations without any supply.
The outrage, paired with other recent disasters by the Biden administration—some of which it could control and some it couldn’t—led to resounding criticism that America was witnessing a return to the Carter administration of the 1970s.
The one-term president lost in a landslide to then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, who garnered 44 states to Carter’s 6.
In addition to the domestic political heat, calls to hold the cyberterrorists accountable included some, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., saying that those responsible for such economically devastating acts deserved to be executed.
Biden indicated in a statement that he was taking steps to address the cyber-terrorism issue but did not specifically say if the US had been involved in a raid.