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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.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
3 hours ago - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.