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Destructive hacking group REvil could be back from the dead

There was a period in 2021 when the computing world was gripped by fear of a dizzyingly effective hacking group fittingly named REvil — until its website was seized by the FBI and its members arrested by Russia’s security services, that is. Yet like a malevolent curse that just can’t be dispelled, it now seems the group’s websites are back online. Has the group returned to spread discord and wreak havoc once again?

In case you missed them the first time around, REvil came to global attention by hacking into various high-profile targets, pilfering secret documents, then threatening their release unless a ransom was paid. In a notable case, the group stole and published files from Apple supplier Quanta Computer, including some that spilled the beans on unreleased product designs.

Now, it looks like REvil’s sites on the dark web are back in action. According to Bleeping Computer, REvil’s websites are up and running and filled with information new and old, including a list of previous hacking victims alongside a couple of new ones. The hacking group’s domains are accessible through the Tor Browser, which masks URLs to facilitate user privacy.

Security researchers became aware of the new activity while monitoring the hacking forum RuTOR, where they saw an advertisement promoting REvil’s services with a new website that redirects to its old domain. The group’s updated services include an apparently improved version of the REvil ransomware, along with an 80/20 revenue-sharing model.

Does this mean that the original REvil crew has somehow been resurrected for another round of high-profile hacks and mischief? Well, that’s not entirely clear. Aside from the fact that the group was gutted by multiple law enforcement investigations around the world, there are other reasons to be suspicious.

For one thing, the website’s code is littered with references to other hacking groups, which might imply that a different malware gang has somehow taken control of REvil’s website. Another possibility is that the new site is a “honeypot” maintained by law enforcement or some other group and designed to capture information about potential clients of REvil.

For now, the mystery remains unsolved. But if REvil is indeed back from the grave — or another hacking group has decided to take it over — it doesn’t bode particularly well for the future, especially considering the havoc caused by hacking group LAPSUS$ in recent months. If you want to stay safe, you can start by ensuring you’re protected by one of the best antivirus apps available and avoid clicking suspicious links on the web or in your emails.

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