When the AlphV site went offline yesterday, rumors started. Now intel firm RedSense has tweeted that they can confirm it was a law enforcement takedown:
Today, RedSense can confirm that #ALPHV aka #BlackCat ransomware gang’s site has been taken down by law enforcement
There has been no statement from the Department of Justice yet.
Bleeping Computer has some additional details concerning their communications with AlphV yesterday after the site first went offline.
Update 1: VX-Underground was reportedly given a different explanation by AlphV yesterday, with VX-Underground being told that AlphV was having problems with their hosting provider. Perhaps coincidentally, BreachForums also went offline for a brief period this week when their registrar told them they were canceling their domain after getting a number of law enforcement requests about the forum. According to the forum owner who related that to DataBreaches, when they tried to contact another company, that company declined to accept them as a customer, telling them that they had been contacted by law enforcement.
So is there some concerted law enforcement actions going on or are these activities unrelated? Time will tell, but hopefully DOJ will issue something soon about the AlphV takedown.
Update 2 (December 9): The AlphV qtox account status was changed from “REPAIR” to a message: “Everything will work soon.” But of course, how do we know who is in charge of that account now? There is still no announcement or confirmation from DOJ about any takedown.
Update 3 (December 9): This story continues to raise more questions than it answers. DataBreaches just had the following exchange with the AlphV admin on qTox, in which the admin says the claim of a law enforcement action is “fake.” When asked what’s fake, they replied, “Discs just fell out in our DC, we are moving to another DC.”
So law enforcement had nothing to do with this? The question was put to them by the owner of the @CyberSecurityIL channel on Telegram, who shared their exchange with DataBreaches:
When asked, “So no law enforcement involved? Only technical issues?” the admin answered, “Yes.”
Of course, that may not be true at all. A source with knowledge of AlphV tells DataBreaches that this appears to be law enforcement action with the host, and it may be much more disruptive than AlphV is letting on. Is a rebrand coming up soon? Stay tuned….
Update 4 of December 11: AlphV’s leak site is back online, but without any of the old content. Their qTox status has been changed to “Everything is working.”
DataBreaches contacted the admin on qTox to ask whether the site was really working and about the previous content — whether it would be restored or was all gone. Admin ALPHV answered:
DataBreaches followed up: “So all of the old posts and data are gone? You are starting over? ”
Admin ALPHV replied: “All new only”
DOJ has still not issued any statement, despite another request from DataBreaches this morning.