FBI Alert: Blackcat Ransomware-as-a-Service (RAAS)

by

April 25, 2022

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a new FLASH alert regarding BlackCat (aka ALPHV, aka Noberus), a ransomware-as-a-service linked with 60 attacks world-wide since first being seen in November of 2021.

The FLASH (published here: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/News/2022/220420.pdf) says BlackCat is the first of it’s kind found to be using the super-secure programming language RUST.

How does BlackCat work?

The BlackCat RaaS uses previously compromised credentials to gain initial access to the targeted system. Once it has its foot in the door it compromises the system’s Active Directory’s user and administrator accounts.

BlackCat then uses Window’s Task Scheduler to configure new, malicious Group Policy Objects to deploy its payload. PowerShell scripts are used in conjunction with Cobalt Strike to disable security features it finds.

BlackCat’s goal is to steal and extradite a victim’s data before execution of the ransomware.

Recommended Mitigations:

The FBI does not encourage paying ransoms. Payment does not guarantee files will be recovered. It may also embolden adversaries to target additional organizations, encourage other criminal actors to engage in the distribution of ransomware, and/or fund illicit activities. However, the FBI understands that when victims are faced with an inability to function, all options are evaluated to protect shareholders, employees and customers. Regardless of whether you or your organization have decided to pay the ransom, the FBI urges you to promptly report ransomware incidents to your local FBI field office. Doing so provides the FBI with critical information needed to prevent future attacks by identifying and tracking ransomware attackers and holding them accountable under US law.

  • Review domain controllers, servers, workstations, and active directories for new or unrecognized user accounts.
  • Regularly back up data, air gap, and password protect backup copies offline. Ensure copies of critical data are not accessible for modification or deletion from the system where the data resides.
  • Review Task Scheduler for unrecognized scheduled tasks. Additionally, manually review operating system defined or recognized scheduled tasks for unrecognized “actions” (for example: review the steps each scheduled task is expected to perform).
  • Review antivirus logs for indications they were unexpectedly turned off.
  • Implement network segmentation.  Require administrator credentials to install the software.
  • Implement a recovery plan to maintain and retain multiple copies of sensitive or proprietary data and servers in a physically separate, segmented, secure location (e.g., hard drive, storage device, the cloud).
  • Install updates/patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as updates/patches are released.
  • Use multi-factor authentication where possible.
  • Regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts, and avoid reusing passwords for different accounts.
  • Implement the shortest acceptable timeframe for password changes.
  • Disable unused remote access/Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) ports and monitor remote access/RDP logs.
  • Audit user accounts with administrative privileges and configure access controls with least privilege in mind.
  • Install and regularly update antivirus and anti-malware software on all hosts. TLP: WHITE TLP:WHITE
  • Only use secure networks and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. Consider installing and using a virtual private network (VPN).
  • Consider adding an email banner to emails received from outside your organization.
  • Disable hyperlinks in received emails.

 

 

Carl Keyser is the Content Manager at Integris.

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