Back in May I summarized the Dark Web activities of “The Dark Overlord” and speculated about whether it would be possible to successfully conduct ediscovery in the nefarious realm of digital malfeasance. The answer, as disclosed in the blog—“Will ‘The Dark Overlord’ Case Require Dark Web eDiscovery?”—is yes, ediscovery is possible, but you’d better gain some specialized Dark Web knowledge along with a Dark Web browser and search engine. Partnering with a Dark Web consultant could be even more helpful.
And no, I have yet to secure any of those things, but my nascent interest in the Dark Web remains. I mean, the kid inside me still wants to experience some sort of Lord of the Rings style adventure akin to an expedition into Mordor, but with a wife, kid, mortgage, etc. any such adventuring is gonna have to wait. I can only dip my toes into such dark realms virtually.
Thus, while conducting a bit of Internet sleuthing (OK, so it’s really just “Googling”) on the mysteries of the Dark Web I came across mention of something called the “Dark Owl.”
Dark Owl? OK, “dark,” but the “owl” part just isn’t coming across as all that ominous. In fact, not any more threatening than say a “Dark Porcupine,” or “Dark Meadowlark.” What gives?
Well, it appears that the Dark Owl are Dark Web consultants and are the good guys. Based in Denver, the company provides search engine services optimized for the Dark Web. In fact, the company bills itself as providing the largest index of darknet content as well as the tools to efficiently find leaked or otherwise compromised sensitive data. It also monitors and provides regular updates on the nefarious activities conducted by some of the biggest villains hiding out in the Dark Web. In particular, the Dark Owl seems to be most interested in the extortion racket being waged by the hacker group known as REvil (lame play on “evil,” don’t you think?)
REvil specializes in ransomware attacks and is perhaps best known for recent ransomware attacks on President Trump, Madonna and other A-list celebrities. While the group claims to have found buyers for Trump’s stolen data, at a reported offering price of $42 million, it’s unclear whether they ever even had any stolen “dirt” on Trump. Meanwhile, many targeted celebrities and their law firms are acknowledging data breaches but are reporting that they have no plans to pay any ransom.
Not just content to hit presidents, celebrities, and their law firms, REvil is apparently branching out to hack other entities. And they’ve added a unique new “auction” feature to their website so that you can join the fun by bidding on all the stolen data. Of course, you’re going to need that Dark Web browser and search engine first.
Among the latest victims is a Canadian Agriculture company called Agromart. And with an opening bid of $50,000, you could be the proud owner of all kinds of the company’s data, such as its two-year operating budget forecasts for fertilizer, seaweed extracts, pesticides, and weed killers. So, get your bids in now, kids!
Other recent victims include a South African telecommunications firm and a British energy company. As of early June, Dark Owl suggested that there might be up to 76 REvil victims in play.
I’m not sure if any ediscovery companies have been hit by REvil or other Dark Web hackers, but it raises some interesting questions: Would they fight back—enter Mordor and take on the evildoers head on, fire-with fire? Do ediscovery computer whizzes and good-guy Dark Web consultants like Dark Owl have the skills to mount an effective counterattack? Where is the “Frodo Baggins” who will have the fortitude, skills, and luck to take on the evil forces of the Dark Web?