Tue. Dec 7th, 2021


Operators of the ransomware-as-a-service group are claiming that the venture is closed and that their whole infrastructure can be turned off.

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Picture: jijomathaidesigners/Shutterstock

The BlackMatter ransomware group is reportedly closing up store on account of stress from legislation enforcement officers. A Wednesday Twitter post from malware researcher VX-Underground broke the information with a screenshot of a press release apparently from BlackMatter operators. Roughly translated from Russian into English, the assertion reads as follows:

“Because of sure unsolvable circumstances related to stress from the authorities (a part of the workforce is not accessible, after the most recent information) – the venture is closed.

After 48 hours the whole infrastructure can be turned off, it’s allowed to:

Challenge mail to corporations for additional communication

Get decryptors. For this write “give a decryptor” inside the corporate chat, the place they’re wanted.

We want you all success, we have been glad to work.”

SEE: Ransomware assault: Why a small enterprise paid the $150,000 ransom (TechRepublic)

The message is considerably cryptic, particularly with the unfastened translation. Unclear is strictly what stress was positioned on the group or which authorities are accountable. However Kev Breen, director of Cyber Risk Analysis for Immersive Labs, cites a number of takeaways.

“It doesn’t look like a takedown of their servers or infrastructure like we now have seen in some current examples,” Breen mentioned. “Which means that any present victims aren’t prone to get decryption keys handed to them. That is additionally strengthened by the second half of the message suggesting that these corporations or personnel already coping with lively ransoms ought to proceed to take action simply by switching their communication methodology and getting the decryptors now earlier than the infrastructure is shut down.”

The reference to the a part of the workforce not accessible could possibly be associated to a current legislation enforcement operation that led to the arrest of 12 folks linked to a number of ransomware assaults world wide, in keeping with Bleeping Laptop. Nevertheless, the promise to show off the whole infrastructure after 48 hours is murky. That period of time has already handed because the assertion was despatched to VX-Underground, and the group’s Tor fee web site and knowledge leak are nonetheless up, Bleeping Laptop added.

First seen this previous July, BlackMatter is a Ransomware-as-a-Service group that farms out enterprise to cybercriminal associates who in flip stage assaults in opposition to organizations, in keeping with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety Company. A attainable rebranding of the notorious DarkSide gang, BlackMatter has focused a number of victims within the U.S. with ransom calls for starting from $80,000 to $15 million.

Past any stress exerted by authorities, ransomware gangs and RaaS operators can implode on account of technical points and strained relationships with associates.

“At this level it is not clear whether or not core group members are ‘unavailable’ as a result of they’re in custody or have merely determined the stakes are too excessive to proceed operations,” mentioned Jake Williams, co-founder and CTO at BreachQuest. “However the be aware particularly mentions native legislation enforcement stress, and that is an indication that saber rattling seems to be serving to.”

SEE: Safety incident response coverage (TechRepublic Premium)

However Williams additionally pointed to a bug in BlackMatter’s ransomware, which value operators and associates hundreds of thousands in ransom funds during the last month. As this incident already harm the group’s relationships with associates, it might not have required a lot stress from authorities to persuade key BlackMatter members to give up.

Does this imply the top of BlackMatter? Even assuming the assertion is legit, ransomware operators that declare to disband have a behavior of resurfacing elsewhere. Such people could lie low for some time to keep away from the lengthy arm of legislation enforcement however then pop up once more in one other legal enterprise. DarkSide itself appeared to cover for canopy after undue publicity following its assault in opposition to Colonial Pipeline, solely to reportedly rebound as BlackMatter.

“Though BlackMatter’s announcement would counsel a halt in operations, if we think about earlier occasions, there are a number of potentialities as to the way forward for BlackMatter,” mentioned Xue Yin Peh, senior cyber risk intelligence analyst at Digital Shadows.

“1) Members or associates lie low for a time period, staying inactive whereas taking a break from ransomware actions; 2) Members or associates are absorbed into the ransomware-as-a-service applications of different teams; 3) BlackMatter will rebrand into a brand new program below one other title. With legislation enforcement scorching on their heels, it’s extra possible that BlackMatter will take their time to let the legislation enforcement mud settle, re-develop their instruments after which re-emerge with a brand new and improved payload.”

Additionally see

  • Ransomware attackers at the moment are utilizing triple extortion techniques (TechRepublic)
  • SolarWinds assault: Cybersecurity specialists share classes realized and how one can defend your enterprise (TechRepublic)
  • How one can stop one other Colonial Pipeline ransomware assault (TechRepublic)
  • Cybersecurity know-how just isn’t getting higher: How can it’s fastened? (TechRepublic)  
  • Identification theft safety coverage (TechRepublic Premium)
  • Cybersecurity and cyberwar: Extra must-read protection (TechRepublic on Flipboard)  




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