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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Dark web sites tied to the Russian-based cyber gang REvil were not operating on Tuesday, just two weeks after the group launched a large-scale ransomware campaign that affected more than 1,500 companies around the world, according to CNBC.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the sites — which REvil uses to facilitate its ransom negotiations — are down because of a technical problem, a law enforcement operation, or some other explanation. The group's public spokesperson has also been silent on message boards since last week, according to Politico.

  • President Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to demand that he crack down on cyber gangs operating in Russia.
  • He warned that the U.S. would take action to "defend its people" against ransomware attacks, and suggested that could include taking the hackers' servers offline.

Flashback: DarkSide, another Russia-based hacking group, ceased operations after it shut down the Colonial Pipeline during a ransomware operation, leading to widespread gas shortages in the U.S. for several days.

  • The Department of Justice later announced that U.S. investigators gained access to the infrastructure DarkSide used to carry out its extortion operations and recovered part of the ransomware payment the pipeline gave the group to regain access to its computers.

Yes, but: Security experts have said that cyber criminal groups sometimes disband and return under different names, and it therefore currently can't be determined if the disruption to REvil's web sites is permanent.

The big picture: The full extent of REvil's most recent ransomware operation is still unknown.

  • The group was responsible for several other prominent ransomware attempts, including one that forced major meat supplier JBS to briefly shut down its beef plants across the U.S.
  • REvil at one point was demanding $70 million to restore data they claimed for ransom through the July 4 weekend operation that targeted Kaseya software, though it's currently unknown how many companies made ransom payments.

Go deeper: Assessing the size of the Kaseya ransomware attack

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jul 12, 2021 - Technology

"Ransomwhere" project tracks payment demands

Photo: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A new project, Ransomwhere, aims to put a dollar figure on the profit-driven attacks that have become a headache for businesses, governments and non-profits around the globe.

Why it matters: While ransomware is clearly a growing problem, there hasn't been a good way to keep tabs on how much is being paid, and to whom.

2 hours ago - World

Biden: U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year

Biden returning to the White House on July 25. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The United States' combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq will be completed "by the end of the year," President Biden said Monday prior to a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Why it matters: Biden is close to shifting the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a fully advisory role more than 18 years after combat troops were sent to the country under the former President George W. Bush.

How extreme weather feeds inflation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This summer's extreme weather is having ripple effects that could raise food prices in the U.S. and disrupt diets around the world.

Why it matters: Climate scientists and food supply experts, like those at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, have long warned about the impact of human-caused global warming on prices, food shortages and hunger.