Connect with us

Cyber Security

Meet the Middlemen Who Connect Cybercriminals With Victims

Avatar

Published

on

An analysis of initial access brokers explains how they break into vulnerable organizations and sell their access for up to $10,000.

Ransomware operators looking for victims can find them on the Dark Web, where initial access brokers publish listings containing vague descriptions of businesses they’ve managed to breach.

Initial access brokers, the “middlemen” of ransomware attacks, have noticed demand for their services surge as ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) gains popularity. Their listings have steadily increased over the past two years, with a significant spike in the past six months, according to Digital Shadows researchers who today published an analysis of these threat actors.

The job of an initial access broker is to handle the initial requirements of an attack and streamline the process so RaaS operators can launch a successful infection. The growing reliance on RaaS has created a market for initial access brokers to flourish, explains threat intelligence team lead Alec Alvarado.

“There is a lot of pressure placed on ransomware affiliates to feed ransomware developers with victims to generate cash flow,” he says. “If an affiliate does not meet the developer’s needs, they will be booted from the affiliate program, losing money.” 

The process starts with identifying vulnerable targets, which brokers often do indiscriminately with open source port scanning tools like Shodan or Masscan. They also may use vulnerability scanning tools to look for their gateway into a target organization, Alvarado adds. 

In most cases, attackers identify victims who have Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) exposed to the Internet. Researchers have also observed access to Citrix gateways and domain controller accesses in initial access listings on the Dark Web. Citrix access can be obtained by brute forcing the Citrix gateway to provide remote access or exploit known vulnerabilities in Citrix products.

Once they find their initial foothold, initial access brokers carefully explore the network. They may attempt to escalate privileges or move laterally to see how much data they can access. With this complete, they organize their access information, package it into a presentable product, and figure out how much money it can earn them on the criminal underground. 

These listings can be found across all criminal forums, such as Russian language forums XSS and Exploit, Alvarado says. Some forums have begun to create dedicated sections for access listings.

The price of each listing can range from $500 to $10,000 USD, researchers report, depending on the level of access obtained and organization compromised. Access to large businesses with higher revenues will drive access price. The higher the revenue, the higher a ransom demand.

“Considerably organized and tailored accesses that require minimal effort to complete an attack will typically go for a higher cost as most of the work has been completed at that point,” Alvarado explains. “Additionally, if the access encompasses a large portion of the network with multiple hosts, this will drive the access cost.”

The buyers of initial access can do far more than launch a ransomware attack. They may also conduct corporate espionage, move laterally, escalate privileges, or stay on the network long-term to take advantage of living-off-the-land techniques.

How Much Information Is Too Much?
Brokers must strike a delicate balance in writing an access listing. They could detail the value of their access to gain more attention and drive the price tag; however, more information may tip off security researchers, who can identify the victim and remove access before it’s exploited.

Some brokers play it safe by limiting the description to vague data found on Zoominfo, a site with business information such as company revenue and employee count. This tells potential buyers how lucrative an attack could be without sharing too much information. Brokers have also included portions of a company’s stock ticker symbol or the country where it operates.

The subtle nature of their activity and lack of detail in listings make it difficult to catch an initial access broker. Red flags may include evidence of brute-force attempts against RDP servers, multiple failed authentication attempts, or evidence of privilege escalation attempts or lateral movement, Alvarado says. Overall, these brokers can operate without much risk because they don’t launch the final campaign and are likely to see a payout. 

“They do not carry out attacks and are more passive,” he notes. “From a risk vs. reward perspective, the reward is likely and the risk is low.”

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial … View Full Bio

Recommended Reading:

More Insights

Source: https://www.darkreading.com/threat-intelligence/meet-the-middlemen-who-connect-cybercriminals-with-victims/d/d-id/1338873?_mc=rss_x_drr_edt_aud_dr_x_x-rss-simple

Cyber Security

6 Crucial password security tips for everyone

Avatar

Published

on

[ This article was originally published here ]

This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.
These days, everyone has passwords. Lots and lots of passwords! When I think of how many user accounts with passwords that I have, I probably have dozens. A few for social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, a few for my favorite media streaming services, one for Nintendo Switch and another for the PlayStation Network, a few for my utilities including electricity and my ISP, a few with Amazon and other online retailers, one with the government to file my personal income taxes, my home WiFi password, a Gmail account for all of my Google and YouTube stuff, accounts to authenticate into a couple of different web browsers, an account for my bank’s website, and there are probably at least a dozen more. And I’m a pretty typical technology user. So chances are, you have many similar…

Kim Crawley Posted by:

Kim Crawley

      

Avatar

Source: https://www.cybersecurity-insiders.com/6-crucial-password-security-tips-for-everyone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6-crucial-password-security-tips-for-everyone

Continue Reading

Cyber Security

Deadly Ransomware Story Continues to Unfold

Avatar

Published

on

A ransomware attack with fatal consequences is attracting notice and comment from around the world.

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s story breaking the news of fatal consequences in a German ransomware attack.

Reaction is continuing to the story of what Reuters says may be the world’s first human fatality directly attributed to a cyberattack. According to the news service’s reporting, the attack, which began on Sept. 10, utilized a known vulnerability in a Citrix VPN as its point of entry. As of today, The University Clinic in Duesseldorf remained unable to admit new patients brought in by ambulance.

Because a woman died after being redirected to another hospital, German authorities are investigating possible manslaughter charges against the still-unknown attackers. “If homicide charges are combined with computer crime charges, it could be a sound idea to attempt imposing a lengthy prison sentence for the attackers, and, potentially, to get more international cooperation in the investigation,” says Ilia Kolochenko, founder and CEO of ImmuniWeb. She warns, though, that “the causation element will likely be extremely burdensome to prove within the context: defense attorneys will likely shift the entire blame on other parties spanning from hospital personnel and its IT contractors in charge of network management and security.”

Terence Jackson, CISO at Thycotic, notes: “According to a recent Check Point report, 80% of observed ransomware attacks in the first half of 2020 used vulnerabilities reported and registered in 2017 and earlier — and more than 20% of the attacks used vulnerabilities that are at least 7 years old.”

The pre-existing vulnerability means that “there was time to mitigate the threat in theory, but it illustrates the importance of running vulnerability scans and acting on findings at least every 30 days if not more frequently,” says Mark Kedgley, CTO of New Net Technologies. The potential disruption of those scans, he says, must be weighed against the operational requirements of 24 x 7 organizations like hospitals.

Dark Reading will continue to follow this story.

For more, read here.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and … View Full Bio

Recommended Reading:

More Insights

Source: https://www.darkreading.com/threat-intelligence/deadly-ransomware-story-continues-to-unfold/d/d-id/1338957?_mc=rss_x_drr_edt_aud_dr_x_x-rss-simple

Continue Reading

Cyber Security

Incident Of The Week: Equinix Is The Latest In A Long Line Of Ransomware Victims

Avatar

Published

on

[Records Exposed: Undisclosed  |  Industry: Internet  |  Type Of Attack: Ransomware]

Equinix is the latest victim in a long line of ransomware targets. The data center and colocation service provider released a short statement on September 9 that read,

“Equinix is currently investigating a security incident we detected that involves ransomware on some of our internal systems. Our teams took immediate and decisive action to address the incident, notified law enforcement and are continuing to investigate. Our data centers and our service offerings, including managed services, remain fully operational, and the incident has not affected our ability to support our customers. Note that as most customers operate their own equipment within Equinix data centers, this incident has had no impact on their operations or the data on their equipment at Equinix. The security of the data in our systems is always a top priority and we intend to take all necessary actions, as appropriate, based on the results of our investigation.”

The threat actors are demanding $4.5 million in exchange for a decryptor and the promise that they won’t release stolen data. However, Equinix updated their statement on September 14 to reiterate that customers’ data and operations remain safe.

Related: Cyber Security Standards and Frameworks

It appears the guilty party is the young cybercriminal group known as NetWalker who first burst on the scene in August of 2019. Their success lies in their ability to automate ransomware attacks, including a countdown clock and prefab ransom note that populates at just the right time during the operation. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) poses an increasing threat across the cyber security landscape, as it allows inexperienced or less technical hackers purchase the automation software needed to execute such a hack.

With NetWalker acting as the gatekeeper, hacker groups go through a screening process before gaining access to a web portal that holds NetWalker’s ransomware, which can then be customized to fit their specific needs. NetWalker’s commission of 20% has earned the group $25 million between March 1 and July 27.

Lessons Learned:

If it seems like ransomware attacks have been in the news a lot lately, it’s because they have. In fact, a report by Coalition discovered that in the first half of 2020, 41% of cyber insurance claims were ransomware incidents. It was also reported that, while ransomware attacks are becoming slightly less frequent, their rate of success and size of target are growing. In other words, the increasingly sophisticated strategies of these threat actors poses real risks to even the most developed enterprise.

Related: How To Preemptively Track Phishing Campaigns

While ransomware attacks are specific in their execution, the vulnerabilities exploited to make them possible are the same as most other cyber threats. Specifically, 54% of cyber attacks are achieved through email (malware) and phishing schemes.

Quick Tips:  

Ransomware attacks rely in part on lax cyber protocols. In order to best safeguard your enterprise from this growing threat, consider the following:

  1. Back up data smartly – One of the ways cyber criminals convince corporations to pay ransoms is by holding their data hostage by encrypting it. While most enterprises back up their data, it is often located in the same compromised infrastructure the original data. Consider backing up data to external drives or a second cloud service provider.
  2. Choose a reputable security suite – Standard antivirus software and basic firewalls may be sufficient for the layperson, but enterprises should invest in a security suite that uses smart tools and sophisticated algorithms to spot and, if possible, remove ransomware. The tool must be able to run in the background 24/7.
  3. Install Software Updates – Cyber criminals look for the path of least resistance. Such a path is usually found in outdated software that hasn’t downloaded the most up-to-date patches, bug fixes, and other newly designed features. Remember to keep all apps, plug-ins, and third-party software up to date as well.

Read More: Incident Of The Week

Source: https://www.cshub.com/attacks/articles/incident-of-the-week-equinix-is-the-latest-in-a-long-line-of-ransomware-victims

Continue Reading
Blockchain5 hours ago

Ethereum: Is the HODLing in yet?

Nano Technology7 hours ago

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller

Nano Technology7 hours ago

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies

Nano Technology7 hours ago

Who stole the light? Self-induced ultrafast demagnetization limits the amount of light diffracted from magnetic samples at soft x-ray energies

Blockchain7 hours ago

Brace for it – Bitcoin Futures may be nearing a tipping point

Blockchain8 hours ago

Tron, Synthetix, VeChain Price Analysis: 19 September

Blockchain9 hours ago

Here’s why Bitcoin’s ‘distracting’ volatility actually helps

Blockchain10 hours ago

Stellar Lumens, NEM, Maker Price Analysis: 19 September

AR/VR12 hours ago

Someone Remade ‘Among Us’ in VR and It’s Strangely More Fun Than the Original

AR/VR12 hours ago

Virtual Tours: The Key to a Successful School Marketing Plan

Crowdfunding13 hours ago

Spanish Financial Giant BBVA’s US Division Recognized as one of the Best Corporate Digital Banks in North America

Gaming16 hours ago

Evening Reading – September 18, 2020

AI16 hours ago

7 Awe Inspiring AI Techs That Transformed The Digital World

Entrepreneur17 hours ago

100X.VC Unveils Its Class 02 Investments

Payments17 hours ago

Here’s how Nasdaq-listed MicroStrategy went about buying $175m in Bitcoin

Esports17 hours ago

Lenovo Legion Sponsors G2 Esports as Hardware Partner

CNBC17 hours ago

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at age 87

Energy18 hours ago

Shanghai Electric Showcases Smart Energy Solution at China International Industrial Expo on World’s Clean Up Day

Entrepreneur19 hours ago

Preventive Healthcare Market Dilating in India

Cannabis19 hours ago

5 weed products Tommy Chong can’t live without

Gaming19 hours ago

Shacknews Twitch Highlights: Rocket League, Fight Crab, and Quest 64

Entrepreneur20 hours ago

More gets 275 Crore INR From Amazon, Samara Capital

Big Data20 hours ago

TikTok filed a complaint against Trump administration to block U.S. ban: Bloomberg News

Blockchain21 hours ago

Seoul Police Summons Bithumb Chairman For Interrogation

Cyber Security22 hours ago

6 Crucial password security tips for everyone

CNBC22 hours ago

‘Thank you, RBG’: Leaders react with sadness, shock to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death

Gaming22 hours ago

Shack Chat: What’s your reaction to the September PlayStation 5 Showcase?

Cleantech22 hours ago

Ford Mustang Mach-E Easily Goes 300+ Miles In Norway

Gaming22 hours ago

Apple and Sony Events – The TouchArcade Show #462

Esports22 hours ago

Here’s the schedule for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship

Gaming22 hours ago

Weekend PC Download Deals for Sept. 18: Steam Pirate Sale

Gaming23 hours ago

Shacknews Dump – September 18, 2020

Crowdfunding23 hours ago

India-Based Insurtech ACKO Secures $60 Million Through Latest Funding Round Led By Munich Re Ventures

Crowdfunding23 hours ago

Google Temporarily Removes Paytm Mobile App from Play Store Due to Supposedly Being in Violation For Gambling

Gaming23 hours ago

TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Songbringer’

CNBC23 hours ago

In Photos: Crowd gathers in front of the Supreme Court to mourn Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

CoinTelegraph23 hours ago

Pinned below $11K, Bitcoin price plays second fiddle to Uniswap (UNI)

CNBC24 hours ago

Trump nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Supreme Court will get Senate vote, McConnell says

Cleantech1 day ago

Indian Government May Put EV Chargers At 69,000 Gas Pumps

Blockchain1 day ago

The Last Time This On-Chain Metric Was This Low, Bitcoin Surged 150%

Trending