Wed. Dec 8th, 2021


Attackers will threaten to launch confidential knowledge that would have an effect on an organization’s inventory value to strain them to pay the ransom, says the FBI.

Young Asian male frustrated by ransomware cyber attack

Picture: Getty Photos/iStockphoto

Ransomware operators will stoop to any tactic essential to attempt to drive their victims to acquiesce to the ransom calls for. One in style tactic is double extortion through which the attackers threaten to publish the stolen knowledge except the ransom is paid. Now some prison gangs have devised a twist on that kind of ploy. In a brand new report printed Monday, the FBI warns of assaults through which ransomware teams will leak delicate data that would impression an organization’s inventory value if the ransom goes unpaid.

SEE: Infographic: The 5 phases of a ransomware assault (TechRepublic)

Earlier than launching an precise assault, ransomware operators will analysis the meant sufferer to seek out public and nonpublic data that they will leverage. Such data might embrace particulars about impending mergers or acquisitions and different delicate enterprise or monetary actions.

Except the ransom is paid following the assault, the criminals threaten to leak this data publicly, thereby affecting the inventory value or making a backlash amongst traders.

“It’s not uncommon for attackers to understand how a lot money you’ve out there, how a lot insurance coverage you carry and even if you’re concerned in a merger or acquisition, as they evaluation monetary paperwork previous to unleashing the encryption malware,” stated KnowBe4 Safety Consciousness Advocate Erich Kron. “In some instances, these teams will wait till a vacation weekend when staffing is prone to be slim and response instances are slowed by individuals leaving city or being unavailable.”

SEE: Hackers are getting higher at their jobs, however individuals are getting higher at prevention (TechRepublic) 

In its report, the FBI described a number of precise ransomware incidents through which the attackers used or threatened to make use of this tactic.

In 2020, a ransomware operator posted a word on a Russian hacking discussion board urging hackers to make use of the NASDAQ inventory alternate to extort public firms. A few months later, a ransomware attacker negotiating with a sufferer despatched them the next warning: “We’ve additionally seen that you’ve got shares. If you’ll not interact us for negotiation we are going to leak your knowledge to the nasdaq and we are going to see what’s gonna (sic) occur together with your shares.”

Additionally in 2020, not less than three public firms within the U.S. concerned in mergers and acquisitions have been hit by ransomware assaults whereas conducting talks to hammer out the small print. For 2 of those firms, the talks have been non-public.

In November 2020, an evaluation of a distant entry trojan dubbed Pyxie RAT, which regularly precedes a ransomware assault, discovered a number of key phrases in a search of a sufferer’s community. These phrases included 10-q1, 10-sb2, n-csr3, nasdaq, marketwired, and newswire.

In April of 2021, Darkside ransomware operators posted an replace on their weblog web site with a tactic designed to harm an organization’s inventory value. The submit said: “Now our crew and companions encrypt many firms which might be buying and selling on NASDAQ and different inventory exchanges. If the corporate refuses to pay, we’re prepared to supply data earlier than the publication, in order that it might be attainable to earn within the discount value of shares. Write to us in ‘Contact Us’ and we are going to offer you detailed data.”

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

Whether or not to pay the ransom is a tough determination that each victimized group should make. In its report, the FBI reiterated that it doesn’t suggest paying the ransom as doing so encourages all these criminals and would not assure that the encrypted information will likely be decrypted. No matter determination a corporation makes, nonetheless, the FBI nonetheless encourages victims to report any incident to regulation enforcement.

Additional, to guard your group from ransomware assaults within the first place, the FBI affords the next suggestions:

  • Again up your vital knowledge and maintain the backups offline.
  • Be sure that backup copies of your vital knowledge are saved within the cloud or on an exterior system.
  • Be sure that your backups are safe and that the info can’t be modified or deleted from the supply of the unique knowledge.
  • Set up and replace antivirus and anti-malware software program on all programs and hosts.
  • Solely use safe networks and keep away from public and unsecure Wi-Fi networks.
  • Arrange two-factor authentication for all account credentials. Additionally, use authenticator apps quite than e mail verification to thwart attackers who compromise e mail accounts.
  • By no means click on on unsolicited or sudden attachments or hyperlinks in emails.
  • Allow least privilege entry for information, directories and community shares.

“Organizations, particularly these coming into delicate instances corresponding to these round a merger or acquisition, are smart to concentrate on stopping these assaults by coping with the most typical assault vectors for ransomware, phishing emails and distant entry portals,” Kron stated. “Coaching customers and testing them with simulated phishing assaults, permitting them to turn into more adept at recognizing and reporting these assaults, is a key methodology to decrease threat of an infection, as is guaranteeing distant entry portals are monitored for brute drive assaults, and requiring multi-factor authentication for any consumer logins.”

Additionally see

  • Ransomware attackers are actually utilizing triple extortion ways (TechRepublic)
  • SolarWinds assault: Cybersecurity specialists share classes discovered and methods to defend what you are promoting (TechRepublic)
  • Learn how to forestall one other Colonial Pipeline ransomware assault (TechRepublic)
  • Cybersecurity know-how shouldn’t be getting higher: How can or not it’s fastened? (TechRepublic)  
  • Id theft safety coverage (TechRepublic Premium)
  • Cybersecurity and cyberwar: Extra must-read protection (TechRepublic on Flipboard)  


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