Bitcoin transactions given to prominent charities
Hackers are donating cash to charities, stolen from companies across the globe.
Hacking group Darkside says it has extorted millions of dollars but is giving away to good causes because it “wants to make the world a better place”.
It posted receipts on the dark web for $10,000 Bitcoin donations to two charities.
One of the recipients, children International, said it would not accept the funds.
The other, The Water Project, has yet to comment.
Darkside says they only target large profitable companies with their ransomware attacks.
The attacks hold organisations' IT systems hostage until a ransom is paid.
They wrote: "We think that it's fair that some of the money the companies have paid will go to charity.
"No matter how bad you think our work is, we are pleased to know that we helped changed someone's life. Today we sended (sic) the first donations."
The cyber-criminals posted the donation along with tax receipts they received in exchange for the 0.88 Bitcoin they had sent to two charities, The Water Project and Children International supports children, families and communities in India, the Philippines, Colombia, Ecuador, Zambia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the United States.
A Children International spokesperson said: "If the donation is linked to a hacker, we have no intention of keeping it".
While Darkside is a relatively new hacking group, it may have links to other cyber-criminal groups responsible for high-profile attacks on companies including Travelex, which was crippled by ransomware in January.
Crypto-currency investigator Philip Gradwell from Chainanalysis said: "If you walked into a charity shop with an anonymous mask on and donated £10,000 in cash, then asked for a taxable receipt, questions should probably be asked - and it's no different.
"It's right to say that researchers and law enforcement have become adept at tracing crypto-currency funds as they are moved around from wallet to wallet. But finding who actually owns each wallet is far more complicated.
"By allowing anonymous donations from potentially illicit sources, it opens up the danger of money laundering.
"All crypto-currency businesses need a full range of Anti-Money Laundering measures including a Know Your Customer (KYC) program of basic background checks, so that they can understand who is behind the transactions their business facilitates."