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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Ransomware Operators Partner With Hackers to Attack Organizations

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Let’s first get the old news out of the way. Ransomware is a hornet’s nest. Well, now to the latest news. Ransomware operators are now partnering with hackers to attack high profile organizations.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a method whereby cybercriminals unethically gain remote access to an organization/user’s system, prevent the data from being accessed and demand a hefty ransom for the organization/user to regain access to their data.

Over the past few months, a horde of organizations ranging from hospitals to schools to corporations have been battered by incessant ransomware attacks.

Once an organization’s security has been compromised, the organization very often has little option but to cough up the ransom. The lack of sufficient repercussions has caused new groups of attackers to sprout all over the place.

Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) crews have grown exponentially over the years. There are now a group of attackers whose very names are synonymous with RaaS and strike fear in the hearts of the organizations.

To add to this, there are also now several challengers to the throne who have risen stronger, having learnt from their past mistakes.

An area which has for long remained an enigma is now having some light shed on it where the Ransomware operators looks to partner with the hackers.

Tier 3: The New Kid on the Block

As can be seen from the below table, the newer crews hardly have any noteworthy accomplishments to date and neither do they run a blog of their attacks.

Name Date Discovered Notable Incidents Markets Sold Blog
CVartek.u45 Mar-20 None Torum No
Exorcist Jul-20 None XSS No
Gothmog Jul-20 None Exploit No
Lolkek Jul-20 None XSS No
Muchlove Apr-20 None XSS No
Nemty Feb-20 1 XSS Yes
Rush Jul-20 None XSS No
Wally Feb-20 None Nulled No
XINOF Jul-20 None Private Telegram channel No
Zeoticus 1.0 Dec. 2019, 2.0 Sept 2020 None XSS/Private channels No

Tier 2: The Challengers to the Throne

 They have been linked to quite a few confirmed attacks and have managed to name and shame the victims who refuse to pay a ransom.

Name Date Discovered   Attack claims Markets Sold Blog
Avaddon Mar-20   Under 10 Exploit Yes
Conti Aug-20   142 Private Yes
Clop Mar-20   Over 10 N/A Yes
DarkSide Aug-20   Under 5 Exploit Yes
Pysa/Mespinoza Aug-20   Over 40 N/A Yes
Ragnar Dec-19   Over 25 Exploit Yes
Ranzy Oct-20   1 Exploit & XSS Yes
SunCrypt Oct-19   Over 20 Mazafaka Yes
Thanos Aug-20   Over 5 Raid No

Tier I : The Powerhouses

These are variants that are responsible for a large number of attacks. These variants have raked in millions of dollars in ransoms.

DoppelPaymer – Has been around since 2019. Florence City in Alabama was affected by this a couple of months back and has been covered in detail here.

Eregor/Maze – The crew behind Maze recently announced the shutting down of their operations having wreaked havoc on IT giant Cognizant’s security systems earlier in the year.

Netwalker – First detected in September 2019, and has gained prominence very rapidly since then. It has recently resorted to using phishing emails levergaign the fear of COVID-19 to install it’s malware in the victim’s system.

REvil – First detected in April 2019, and it is one of the most active crews in recent history, taking credit for attacks on UK based financial service provider Travelex and several other entertainment and media based firms.

Ryuk – The name that strikes fear in every organization’s hearts. This year, Ryuk has threatened the US healthcare sector in a massive way

Will the new kids on the block be just a thorn in the side or end up becoming a powerhouse eventually? Will the challengers to the throne overthrow the current powers or just be swatted aside? One can only wait and watch.

You can also read the complete ransomware mitigation checklist

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