Home / News / Maze ransomware was behind Pensacola “cyber event,” Florida officials say

Maze ransomware was behind Pensacola “cyber event,” Florida officials say

Pensacola was hit by Maze ransomware, which has apparently stolen data before encrypting it in other cases.
Enlarge / Pensacola was hit by Maze ransomware, which has apparently stolen information earlier than encrypting it in different circumstances.
Paul Harris / Getty Pictures

An electronic mail despatched by the Florida Division of Regulation Enforcement to all Florida county commissioners indicated that the ransomware that struck town of Pensacola on December 7 was the identical malware utilized in an assault in opposition to the personal safety agency Allied Common, in response to a report by the Pensacola Information Journal. That malware has been recognized elsewhere as Maze, a type of ransomware that has additionally been distributed by way of spam electronic mail campaigns in Italy.

Bleeping Pc’s Lawrence Abrams reported in November that the Maze operators had contacted him after the Allied Common assault, claiming to have stolen information from the corporate earlier than encrypting them on the victims’ computer systems. After Allied apparently missed the deadline for fee of the ransom on the information, the ransomware operators printed 700 megabytes of information from Allied and demanded 300 Bitcoins (roughly $2.three million) to decrypt the community. The Maze operators informed Abrams that they all the time steal victims’ information to make use of as additional leverage to get them to pay:

It’s only a logic. If we disclose it who will consider us? It’s not in our curiosity, will probably be foolish to reveal as we acquire nothing from it. We additionally delete information as a result of it’s not actually attention-grabbing. We’re neither espionage group nor another sort of APT, the information shouldn’t be attention-grabbing for us.

Stealing information as proof of compromise—and to due to this fact encourage fee by ransomware victims—is uncommon however not new. The RobbinHood ransomware operator that attacked Baltimore Metropolis in May additionally stole information as a part of the assault and posted screenshots of some information—faxed paperwork despatched to Baltimore Metropolis Corridor’s fax server—on a Twitter account to encourage metropolis officers to pay. Baltimore didn’t pay the ransom.

Theft of information opens up one other drawback for targets of ransomware who prior to now would pay quietly to decrypt their information, because it introduces the chance that they must report the breach to clients and authorities regulators. So in some circumstances, it might mockingly take away a number of the motivation for victims to pay, since their information could also be offered off by the attackers whether or not they pay or not.

“Broad focused” assaults

Maze, Ryuk, and different ransomware assaults in opposition to authorities businesses and firms have moved more and more towards what Raytheon Cyber Companies Senior Supervisor Dylan Owen known as a “broad focused” assault—whereas they depend on spam for the preliminary breach, the attackers “are poking round determining who they breached” earlier than they launch the assault.

“They do not essentially goal a particular company,” Owen informed Ars. “The attackers have typically both gotten a listing of emails from one other supply, or they “have applications that randomly strive emails, or combos of username, first title/final title, center preliminary, all completely different sorts of combos,” he defined. “They could do some little bit of analysis in the event that they have been going for a selected sort of group, however normally they’re very broad-based… then as soon as they get a beacon again saying, ‘Hey, anyone clicked on my hyperlink’, they go and work out who it was.” And if the clicking got here from a bigger group wealthy in targets, Owen mentioned, they go ahead.

State and native businesses have been notably susceptible to those kinds of assaults due to the economics of their IT operations. “They’re depending on the funding by means of taxes or no matter, and that cash can solely go to this point,” Owen famous. “Additionally they have a preponderance of older IT programs due to the dearth of funding through the years. So it is one thing that is constructed upon itself. Loads of them even have proprietary software program, so it isn’t business, off the shelf—they employed anyone to create some particular code, and that code could not run on newer working programs. So now they’ve older working programs which might be tougher to patch.”

On prime of that, many state and native businesses have not finished the work of segregating these susceptible programs and placing further defenses round them to cut back the chance posed by legacy programs, Owen defined. However he mentioned that is beginning to change. “I do know with Louisiana notably, the governor had mentioned that cyber safety goes to be a very huge focus for 2020,” he mentioned. “They put some huge cash in it in 2019.” And whereas Louisiana needed to take the drastic step of chopping off many providers through the latest Ryuk assault, it was efficient in stopping the unfold of the assault.

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