Cuba ransomware operators “earned” $ 44 million

Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) say Cuba ransomware operators earned at least $ 43.9 million this year.

In an emergency warning released the other day, the FBI writes that the Cuba group has “compromised at least 49 organizations in five critical infrastructure sectors, including the financial and public sector, healthcare, manufacturing and IT.”

Law enforcement officials say they tracked Cuba’s attacks on systems infected with the Hancitor malware, which uses phishing emails, compromised credentials, or brute-forcing RDP to access vulnerable Windows machines and exploits vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange. After Hancitor is infected, access to such a system is leased to other hackers using the Malware-as-a-Service model.

Cuba ransomware, upon compromise, installs and executes a CobaltStrike beacon as a service on the victim’s network via PowerShell. Once installed, the ransomware downloads two executable files, which include “pones.exe” for password acquisition and “krots.exe,” also known as KPOT, enabling the Cuba ransomware actors to write to the compromised system’s temporary (TMP) file. Further, Cuba ransomware actors use MimiKatz malware to steal credentials, and then use RDP to log into the compromised network host with a specific user account.FBI information security experts told.

While a McAfee report on Cuba last year found no link between the two groups, the FBI document says that now there appears to be a new partnership between the MaaS vendor and the ransomware. The published FBI document describes how a typical Hancitor-to-Cuba infection occurs and lists indicators of compromise.

The Record writes that before encrypting the victims’ data, Cuba operators steal information and then threaten to publish these files on their website on the darknet if the victim does not pay the ransom. According to data compiled by analysts at Recorded Future, the site has already listed 28 companies that have refused to pay.

The FBI said the $ 43.9 million was just actual payments to the victims, but initially the hackers demanded more than $ 74 million from the victims, but some refused to pay.

Let me remind you that we also reported that Hive ransomware infected by MediaMarkt and its operators demand $ 240 million.

Helga Smith

I was always interested in computer sciences, especially data security and the theme, which is called nowadays "data science", since my early teens. Before coming into the Virus Removal team as Editor-in-chief, I worked as a cybersecurity expert in several companies, including one of Amazon's contractors. Another experience: I have got is teaching in Arden and Reading universities.

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