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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: ransomware

[Whitepaper] Automate Your Security with Cynet to Protect from Ransomware

[Whitepaper] Automate Your Security with Cynet to Protect from Ransomware

June 23, 2021The Hacker News
It seems like every new day brings with it a new ransomware news item – new attacks, methods, horror stories, and data being leaked. Ransomware attacks are on the rise, and they've become a major issue for organizations across industries. A recent report estimated that by 2031, ransomware attacks would cost the world over $260 billion. A new whitepaper from XDR provider Cynet demonstrates how the company's platform can help organizations mitigate the impact of ransomware ( download here ). Today, attackers have shown themselves to be less interested in ignoring the most vulnerable sectors, such as health care providers and hospitals. With a parallel increase in the number of variants – Wastedlocker, FTCode, Tycooon, TrickBot, REvil, and many others – it's becoming harder to defend against the growing threat of ransomware. Ransomware operates by using a variety of infection and encryption techniques to steal or barricade companies' files behind hard paywalls. Even t
Wormable DarkRadiation Ransomware Targets Linux and Docker Instances

Wormable DarkRadiation Ransomware Targets Linux and Docker Instances

June 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers are sounding the alarm bell over a new ransomware strain called " DarkRadiation " that's implemented entirely in Bash and targets Linux and Docker cloud containers, while banking on messaging service Telegram for command-and-control (C2) communications. "The ransomware is written in  Bash  script and targets Red Hat/CentOS and Debian Linux distributions," researchers from Trend Micro  said  in a report published last week. "The malware uses OpenSSL's AES algorithm with CBC mode to encrypt files in various directories. It also uses Telegram's API to send an infection status to the threat actor(s)." As of writing, there's no information available on the delivery methods or evidence that the ransomware has been deployed in real-world attacks. The findings come from an analysis of a collection of hacking tools hosted on the unidentified threat actor's infrastructure (IP address "185.141.25.168") in a
5 Critical Steps to Recover From a Ransomware Attack

5 Critical Steps to Recover From a Ransomware Attack

June 21, 2021The Hacker News
Hackers are increasingly using ransomware as an effective tool to disrupt businesses and fund malicious activities. A recent analysis by cybersecurity company Group-IB revealed  ransomware attacks doubled in 2020 , while Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that a ransomware attack will occur every 11 seconds  in 2021. Businesses must prepare for the possibility of a ransomware attack affecting their data, services, and business continuity. What steps are involved in recovering from a ransomware attack? Isolate and shutdown critical systems Enact your business continuity plan Report the cyberattack Restore from backup Remediate, patch, and monitor Isolate and shutdown critical systems The first important step is to isolate and shut down business-critical systems. There is a chance the ransomware has not affected all accessible data and systems. Shutting down and isolating both infected systems and healthy systems helps contain malicious code. From the first evidence of ransomwa
Ukraine Police Arrest Cyber Criminals Behind Clop Ransomware Attacks

Ukraine Police Arrest Cyber Criminals Behind Clop Ransomware Attacks

June 16, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Ukrainian law enforcement officials on Wednesday announced the arrest of the  Clop ransomware  gang, adding it disrupted the infrastructure employed in attacks targeting victims worldwide since at least 2019. As part of an international operation between the National Police of Ukraine and authorities from Interpol, Korea, and the U.S., six defendants have been accused of running a double extortion scheme wherein victims refusing to pay a ransom were threatened with the leak of sensitive financial, customer, or personal data stolen from them prior to encrypting the files. The ransomware attacks amount to $500 million in monetary damages, the National Police  said , noting that "law enforcement has managed to shut down the infrastructure from which the virus spreads and block channels for legalizing criminally acquired cryptocurrencies." Police officials are said to have conducted 21 searches in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, including the homes of the defendants, resulti
Malware Attack on South Korean Entities Was Work of Andariel Group

Malware Attack on South Korean Entities Was Work of Andariel Group

June 16, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A malware campaign targeting South Korean entities that came to light earlier this year has been attributed to a North Korean nation-state hacking group called Andariel, once again indicating that  Lazarus  attackers are following the trends and their  arsenal  is in  constant development . "The way Windows commands and their options were used in this campaign is almost identical to previous Andariel activity," Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky  said  in a deep-dive published Tuesday. Victims of the attack are in the manufacturing, home network service, media, and construction sectors. Designated as part of the Lazarus constellation, Andariel is known for unleashing attacks on South Korean organizations and businesses using specifically tailored methods created for maximum effectivity. In September 2019, the sub-group, along with Lazarus and Bluenoroff, was  sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department  for their malicious cyber activity on critical infrastructure. Anda
Ransomware Attackers Partnering With Cybercrime Groups to Hack High-Profile Targets

Ransomware Attackers Partnering With Cybercrime Groups to Hack High-Profile Targets

June 16, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
As ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure skyrocket, new research shows that threat actors behind such disruptions are increasingly shifting from using email messages as an intrusion route to purchasing access from cybercriminal enterprises that have already infiltrated major targets. "Ransomware operators often buy access from independent cybercriminal groups who infiltrate major targets and then sell access to the ransomware actors for a slice of the ill-gotten gains," researchers from Proofpoint said in a write-up shared with The Hacker News. "Cybercriminal threat groups already distributing banking malware or other trojans may also become part of a ransomware affiliate network." Besides angling for a piece of the illegal profits, the email and cloud security firm said it is currently tracking at least 10 different threat actors who play the role of "initial access facilitators" to supply affiliates and other cybercrime groups with an e
Experts Shed Light On Distinctive Tactics Used by Hades Ransomware

Experts Shed Light On Distinctive Tactics Used by Hades Ransomware

June 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday disclosed "distinctive" tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) adopted by operators of Hades ransomware that set it apart from the rest of the pack, attributing it to a financially motivated threat group called  GOLD WINTER . "In many ways, the GOLD WINTER threat group is a typical post-intrusion ransomware threat group that pursues high-value targets to maximize how much money it can extort from its victims," researchers from SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) said in an analysis shared with The Hacker News. "However, GOLD WINTER's operations have quirks that distinguish it from other groups." The findings come from a study of incident response efforts the Atlanta-based cybersecurity firm engaged in the first quarter of 2021. Since first emerging in the threat landscape in December 2020, Hades has been classified as INDRIK SPIDER's successor to  WastedLocker  ransomware with "additional code o
Emerging Ransomware Targets Dozens of Businesses Worldwide

Emerging Ransomware Targets Dozens of Businesses Worldwide

June 10, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An emerging ransomware strain in the threat landscape claims to have breached 30 organizations in just four months since it went operational by riding on the coattails of a notorious ransomware syndicate. First observed in February 2021, " Prometheus " is an offshoot of another well-known ransomware variant called  Thanos , which was previously deployed against state-run organizations in the Middle East and North Africa last year. The affected entities are believed to be government, financial services, manufacturing, logistics, consulting, agriculture, healthcare services, insurance agencies, energy and law firms in the U.S., U.K., and a dozen more countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America, according to new research published by Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 threat intelligence team. Like other ransomware gangs, Prometheus takes advantage of double-extortion tactics and hosts a dark web leak site, where it names and shames new victims and makes stol
Beef Supplier JBS Paid Hackers $11 Million Ransom After Cyberattack

Beef Supplier JBS Paid Hackers $11 Million Ransom After Cyberattack

June 09, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Meat processing company JBS on Wednesday confirmed it paid extortionists $11 million in bitcoins to regain access to its systems following a destructive ransomware attack late last month. "In consultation with internal IT professionals and third-party cybersecurity experts, the company made the decision to mitigate any unforeseen issues related to the attack and ensure no data was exfiltrated," JBS USA  said  in a statement, with CEO Andre Nogueira adding the firm made the "very difficult decision" to prevent any potential risk for its customers. Stating that third-party forensic investigations into the incident are still ongoing, the company noted that no company, customer, or employee data was compromised as a consequence of the breach. The FBI officially discourages victims from paying ransoms because doing so can establish a profitable criminal marketplace. JBS, the world's largest meat company by sales, on May 30  disclosed  it fell prey to an "org
U.S. Recovers $2.3 Million Ransom Paid to Colonial Pipeline Hackers

U.S. Recovers $2.3 Million Ransom Paid to Colonial Pipeline Hackers

June 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
In a major blow, the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday said it has recovered 63.7 bitcoins (currently valued at $2.3 million) paid by Colonial Pipeline to the DarkSide ransomware extortionists on May 8, pursuant to a seizure warrant that was authorized by the Northern District of California. The  ransomware attack  also hobbled the pipeline company's fuel supply, prompting the government to issue an  emergency declaration , even as the company shelled out a ransom amount of approximately  75 bitcoins  ($4.4 million as of May 8) to regain access to its systems. A week after the highly publicized incident, the ransomware-as-a-service syndicate disbanded with a May 14 farewell message to affiliates, stating that its internet servers and cryptocurrency stash were  seized  by unknown law enforcement entities. While DarkSide's announcement was perceived as an exit scam, the latest move from DoJ confirms earlier speculations of law enforcement involvement. Stating that "
Hackers Breached Colonial Pipeline Using Compromised VPN Password

Hackers Breached Colonial Pipeline Using Compromised VPN Password

June 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The ransomware cartel that masterminded the  Colonial Pipeline attack  early last month crippled the pipeline operator's network using a compromised virtual private network (VPN) account password, the latest investigation into the incident has revealed. The development, which was  reported  by Bloomberg on Friday, involved gaining an initial foothold into the networks as early as April 29 through the VPN account, which allowed employees to access the company's networks remotely. The VPN login — which didn't have multi-factor protections on — was unused but active at the time of the attack, the report said, adding the password has since been discovered inside a batch of leaked passwords on the dark web, suggesting that an employee of the company may have reused the same password on another account that was previously breached. It's, however, unclear how the password was obtained, Charles Carmakal, senior vice president at the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, was quoted a
Data Wiper Malware Disguised As Ransomware Targets Israeli Entities

Data Wiper Malware Disguised As Ransomware Targets Israeli Entities

May 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers on Tuesday disclosed a new espionage campaign that resorts to destructive data-wiping attacks targeting Israeli entities at least since December 2020 that camouflage the malicious activity as ransomware extortions. Cybersecurity firm SentinelOne attributed the attacks to a nation-state actor affiliated with Iran it tracks under the moniker "Agrius." "An analysis of what at first sight appeared to be a ransomware attack revealed new variants of wipers that were deployed in a set of destructive attacks against Israeli targets," the researchers  said . "The operators behind the attacks intentionally masked their activity as ransomware attacks, an uncommon behavior for financially motivated groups." The group's modus operandi involves deploying a custom .NET malware called Apostle that has evolved to become a fully functional ransomware, supplanting its prior wiper capabilities, while some of the attacks have been carried out using a secon
FBI Warns Conti Ransomware Hit 16 U.S. Health and Emergency Services

FBI Warns Conti Ransomware Hit 16 U.S. Health and Emergency Services

May 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The adversary behind Conti ransomware targeted no fewer than 16 healthcare and first responder networks in the U.S. within the past year, totally victimizing over 400 organizations worldwide, 290 of which are situated in the country. That's according to a new  flash alert  issued by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday. "The FBI identified at least 16 Conti ransomware attacks targeting U.S. healthcare and first responder networks, including law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, 9-1-1 dispatch centers, and municipalities within the last year," the agency said. Ransomware attacks have worsened over the years, with recent targets as varied as state and local governments, hospitals, police departments, and critical infrastructure.  Conti  is one of many ransomware strains that have capitulated on that trend, commencing its operations in July 2020 as a private Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), in addition to jumping on the double extort
Insurance Firm CNA Financial Reportedly Paid Hackers $40 Million in Ransom

Insurance Firm CNA Financial Reportedly Paid Hackers $40 Million in Ransom

May 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
U.S. insurance giant CNA Financial reportedly paid $40 million to a ransomware gang to recover access to its systems following an attack in March, making it one of the most expensive ransoms paid to date. The development was first  reported  by Bloomberg, citing "people with knowledge of the attack." The adversary that staged the intrusion is said to have allegedly demanded $60 million a week after the Chicago-based company began negotiations with the hackers, culminating in the payment two weeks following the theft of company data. In a statement shared on May 12, CNA Financial  said  it had "no evidence to indicate that external customers were potentially at risk of infection due to the incident." The attack has been attributed to a new ransomware called 'Phoenix CryptoLocker,' according to a March report from Bleeping Computer, with the strain believed to be an offshoot of WastedLocker and Hades, both of which have been utilized by Evil Corp , a Ru
Microsoft Warns of Data Stealing Malware That Pretends to Be Ransomware

Microsoft Warns of Data Stealing Malware That Pretends to Be Ransomware

May 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Thursday warned of a "massive email campaign" that's pushing a Java-based STRRAT malware to steal confidential data from infected systems while disguising itself as a ransomware infection. "This RAT is infamous for its ransomware-like behavior of appending the file name extension .crimson to files without actually encrypting them," the Microsoft Security Intelligence team  said  in a series of tweets. The new wave of attacks, which the company spotted last week, commences with spam emails sent from compromised email accounts with "Outgoing Payments" in the subject line, luring the recipients into opening malicious PDF documents that claim to be remittances, but in reality, connect to a rogue domain to download the STRRAT malware. Besides establishing connections to a command-and-control server during execution, the malware comes with a range of features that allow it to collect browser passwords, log keystrokes, and run remote command
DarkSide Ransomware Gang Extorted $90 Million from Several Victims in 9 Months

DarkSide Ransomware Gang Extorted $90 Million from Several Victims in 9 Months

May 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
DarkSide, the hacker group behind the  Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack  earlier this month, received $90 million in bitcoin payments following a nine-month ransomware spree, making it one of the most profitable cybercrime groups. "In total, just over $90 million in bitcoin ransom payments were made to DarkSide, originating from 47 distinct wallets," blockchain analytics firm Elliptic  said . "According to  DarkTracer , 99 organisations have been infected with the DarkSide malware - suggesting that approximately 47% of victims paid a ransom, and that the average payment was $1.9 million." Of the total $90 million haul, the DarkSide's developer is said to have received $15.5 million in bitcoins, while the remaining $74.7 million was split among its various affiliates. FireEye's research into DarkSide's affiliate program had  previously revealed  that its creators take a 25% cut for payments under $500,000 and 10% for ransoms above $5 million, with t
U.S. Pipeline Ransomware Attackers Go Dark After Servers and Bitcoin Are Seized

U.S. Pipeline Ransomware Attackers Go Dark After Servers and Bitcoin Are Seized

May 17, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Just as Colonial Pipeline  restored  all of its systems to operational status in the wake of a crippling ransomware incident a week ago, DarkSide, the cybercrime syndicate behind the attack, claimed it lost control of its infrastructure, citing a law enforcement seizure. All the dark web sites operated by the gang, including its DarkSide Leaks blog, ransom collection site, and breach data content delivery network (CDN) servers, have gone dark and remain inaccessible as of writing. In addition, the funds from their cryptocurrency wallets were allegedly exfiltrated to an unknown account, according to a note passed by DarkSide operators to its affiliates. "At the moment, these servers cannot be accessed via SSH, and the hosting panels have been blocked," the  announcement  obtained by Intel 471 read. The development comes as DarkSide closed its Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) affiliate program for good "due to the pressure from the U.S.", with the group stating th
Colonial Pipeline Paid Nearly $5 Million in Ransom to Cybercriminals

Colonial Pipeline Paid Nearly $5 Million in Ransom to Cybercriminals

May 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Colonial Pipeline on Thursday restored operations to its entire pipeline system nearly a week following a ransomware infection targeting its IT systems, forcing it to reportedly shell out nearly $5 million to regain control of its computer networks. "Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal," the company said in a statement on Thursday evening. "Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during this start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal." The company's official website , however, has been taken offline as of writing with an access denied message "This request was blocked by the security rules." Bloomberg, citing "two people familiar with the transaction," said the company made th
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