In a great many ransomware attacks, the criminals who pillage the victim’s network are not the same crooks who gained the initial access to the victim organization. More commonly, the infected PC or stolen VPN credentials the gang used to break in were purchased from a cybercriminal middleman known as an initial access broker. This post examines some of the clues left behind by Wazawaka, the handle chosen by a major access broker in the Russian-speaking cybercrime scene.
The accounting firm PricewatersCoopers recently published lessons learned from the disruptive and costly ransomware attack in May 2021 on Ireland’s public health system. The unusually candid post-mortem found that nearly two months elapsed between the initial intrusion and the launching of the ransomware. It also found affected hospitals had tens of thousand of outdated Windows 7 systems, and that the health system’s IT administrators failed to respond to multiple warning signs that a massive attack was imminent.
Rarely do cybercriminal gangs that deploy ransomware gain the initial access to the target themselves. More commonly, that access is purchased from a cybercriminal broker who specializes in stealing remote access credentials — such as usernames and passwords needed to remotely connect to the target’s network. In this post we’ll look at the clues left behind by “Babam,” the handle chosen by a cybercriminal who has sold such access to ransomware groups on many occasions over the past few years.
In August, KrebsOnSecurity warned that scammers were contacting people and asking them to unleash ransomware inside their employer’s network, in exchange for a percentage of any ransom amount paid by the victim company. This week, authorities in Nigeria arrested a suspect in connection with the scheme — a young man who said he was trying to save up money to help fund a new social network.
The U.S. Department of Justice said today it arrested a Ukrainian man who deployed ransomware on behalf of the REvil ransomware gang, a Russian cybercriminal collective that has extorted hundreds of millions from victim organizations. The DOJ also said it had seized $6.1 million in cryptocurrency sent to another REvil affiliate, and that the State Department is now offering up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest of any key leaders of REvil.
Last week cybercriminals deployed ransomware to 1,500 organizations that provide IT security and technical support to many other companies. The attackers exploited a vulnerability in software from Kaseya, a Miami-based company whose products help system administrators manage large networks remotely. Now it appears Kaseya’s customer service portal was left vulnerable until last week to a data-leaking security flaw that was first identified in the same software six years ago.
Authorities in Ukraine this week charged six people alleged to have been part of the CLOP ransomware group, a cybercriminal gang said to have extorted more than half a billion dollars from victims. Some of CLOP’s victims this year alone include Stanford University Medical School, the University of California, and University of Maryland.
Some of the world’s top tech firms are backing a new industry task force focused on disrupting cybercriminal ransomware gangs by limiting their ability to get paid, and targeting the individuals and finances of the organized thieves behind these crimes.