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Conversing with the Knight Group, Successors of Cyclops

Quite frequently we encounter abrupt retirements of ransomware groups who have barely been active a few months, and in the last three years, our tally has hit twenty of these mysteries. Like elusive pool sharks, they often vanish into thin air leaving journalists and researchers confounded. Yeah, just when we thought we’ve taken the measure of them, poof, they vanish. But there’s always a trail to follow, so shall we dive in?

In typical British crime drama fashion, some of these groups simply prefer to wrap up their operations in silence, rebrand perhaps, and go about their business more discreetly. Others, however, like putting on a show, popping the cork and announcing their rebranding signals to the whole world, or at least, those scripting cyber chronicles. One such audacious group is Cyclops, which figured, “why not just put on a bloody good show?” So, come late July 2023, they hosted their version of a “brand launch” and dramatically unveiled their transformation into Knight version 2.0. Entertainment on a whole new level, isn’t it?

But it gets even murkier! If the curtain-raiser wasn’t exciting enough, our new ‘Knight’ on the scene even decided to impose fresh codes of conduct, like a new year’s resolution. A veritable “gentleman’s agreement,” if you will. And what’s this code all about? You will find this hard to believe – they have firmly decided not to attack non-profit hospitals and government entities, quite the knightly behavior, don’t you think? Though they didn’t deign to explain the motives behind their gallant decisions.

Makes you wonder though, what would prompt these cyber wolves in Knight’s clothing to suddenly develop a conscience? Is there a newfound respect for healthcare and the public sector amidst the digital chaos, or perhaps, just a fascinating new strategy to gain some goodwill or stealthily pivot their focus. Alas, they’ve not been forthright with their reasoning leaving us to speculate.

But maybe, just maybe, amidst the turmoil of the digital battlefield, they’re reconsidering their targets. Perhaps, they’re realizing the calamitous impacts on hospitals and public entities and deciding it’s a step too far even for them? Or are they just redefining the boundaries of their own game? Either way, it’s certainly an unexpected detour on the ransomware road.

In this thrilling game of cat and mouse, we can’t help but be engrossed as we explore these intriguing rebranding tales of the cyber world and the curious rules these ransomware groups decide to play by.

In the grand scheme, we can only wait to see what unfolds. Will they keep to their word? Will others follow suit? Only time will tell as we watch this digital drama unfold. Grab your crisps and keep the kettle on, it’s going to be a fascinating watch. And while you’re at it, do keep that antivirus updated, won’t you? Stay safe and cybersecure, my friends!

by Parker Bytes

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