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Showing posts with label Phoenix CryptoLocker. Show all posts

NRA Reacts to Allegations of a Ransomware Campaign

 

Last year, the National Rifle Association — champion of gun-toting maniacs worldwide, admitted it was hacked by cybercriminals. The organization's political action committee (PAC) confirmed the attack in a filing to the Federal Election Commission on Friday. 

Last October, a ransomware group known as "Grief" boasted to the digital underworld about hacking into the gun lobby's networks and stealing critical internal papers. It released screenshots of documents it claimed to be stolen during the event. The NRA did not confirm or deny it had been hacked at the time. 

"The National Rifle Association does not talk about its physical or electronic security. The NRA, on the other hand, takes exceptional precautions to safeguard information about its members, funders, and operations, and is extremely cautious in doing so." Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. 

The NRA was added as a new victim on the ransomware gang's data site today, along with pictures of Excel spreadsheets revealing US tax information and transaction amounts. The threat actors also published a 2.7 MB archive called 'National Grants.zip,' which comprises bogus NRA grant applications. After Grief claimed it obtained 13 files supposedly from the NRA's databases, security researchers began posting about the breach on Wednesday. According to an analysis of the documents supplied, it included records from a recent NRA board meeting as well as grant documents. If the NRA did not pay an undisclosed ransom, it threatened to release more files. 

The Grief ransomware group is believed to be linked to Evil Corp, a Russian hacking group. Evil Corp has been active since 2009 and has been involved in a variety of destructive cyber activities, including the spread of the Dridex trojan, which was used to steal online banking credentials and money. 

In 2017, the hacking gang published BitPaymer, ransomware which was later renamed DoppelPaymer in 2019. The US Department of Justice charged members of the Evil Corp with stealing more than $100 million and adding the cyber group to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction list after years of attacking US interests. 

Soon after, the US Treasury cautioned ransomware negotiators may face civil penalties if anyone helped gangs on the blacklisted list get ransom payments. To avoid US sanctions, Evil Corp has been spreading new ransomware strains under different identities on a regular basis since then.WastedLocker, Hades, Phoenix CryptoLocker, PayLoadBin, and, quite recently, the Macaw Locker are among the ransomware families.

NRA members should take precautions to protect themselves from any penalties which may occur as a result of this breach, according to Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate at Comparitech. With the Grief ransomware group emerging, security researchers believe it is another version of DoppelPaymer due to the code similarities. Because Grief is related to Evil Corp, ransomware negotiators are unlikely to allow ransom payments unless the victim first obtains OFAC certification.

CNA Hit by a Phoenix CryptoLocker Ransomware Attack

 

Insurance giant, CNA had to shut down its systems and temporarily close its website due to a novel ransomware attack. A new version of the Phoenix CryptoLocker malware was used in the attack, which happened earlier this week. The attack is believed to be linked to the Evil Corp hacking group. 

CNA, a Chicago-based company is the seventh-largest commercial insurance provider in the world. According to a statement published on the home page of the website on Sunday, March 21, the company affirmed that they have “sustained a sophisticated cybersecurity attack”. “The attack caused a network disruption and impacted certain CNA systems, including corporate email,” they added. 

Though CNA was the target of recent ransomware named Phoenix CryptoLocker, according to a report, the organization did not comment on the nature of the incident. CryptoLockers are a common form of ransomware that encrypts files on the computers it infects and demands a ransom from the victims in return for the key to decrypt them. 

As per the report, the cybercriminals behind Phoenix CryptoLocker are probably well-known groups, such as the cybercrime group Evil Corp, which lately reappeared after a short break from cybercrime. The effect of the group's most recent attack was so extreme that CNA detached its systems from its network "out of an abundance of caution" and is now offering workarounds for employees wherever possible so that the company can continue to service its customers, according to the company. The ransomware apparently encrypted data on over 15,000 machines on CNA's company network, as well as remote-working employees' computers who were connected to the company's VPN at the time of the attack. 

The ransomware appended ‘the.phoenix’ extension to encrypted files and generated a ransom note called ‘PHOENIX-HELP.txt’ while encrypting computers. Even though sources said CNA will restore from backups, the company has not verified anything. 

According to the report, based on similarities in the code from former ransomware used by Evil Corp, sources assume Phoenix CryptoLocker is a result of the same community. Evil Corp utilized WastedLocker ransomware to encrypt victims' files in past ransomware threats, such as the one against GPS technology provider Garmin last year. Indeed, the cybercriminal organization has made millions of dollars through several nefarious operations, including stealing banking credentials with the Dridex banking trojan and then making illicit money transfers from unsuspecting victims' bank accounts. 

The attack on CNA could also have a huge impact on certain businesses, particularly those who have cyber insurance policies with the organization. Hacking the insurer's network and stealing insurance details about their customers couldn't have been a better way to generate a list of insured companies to strike. It's uncertain if the cybercriminals stole unsecured files before encrypting CNA's devices at this point. However, since ransomware operations have made stealing unencrypted data a standard technique, it's possible that some data was stolen during the attack.