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2023 News-EN

LOCKBIT AND OPERATION CRONOS: THE DISRUPTION OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST RANSOMWARE OPERATION

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LOCKBIT AND OPERATION CRONOS: THE DISRUPTION OF THE WORLD'S BIGGEST RANSOMWARE OPERATION

The NCA (National Crime Agency) today, Tuesday 20 February 2024, released public details about the international disruption campaign targeting LockBit, the world’s most harmful cyber crime group.

Led by the NCA with collaboration from the FBI, Europol and support from international partners across ten countries, the operation named Cronos involved covert infiltration of LockBit’s network, resulting in control over their services and compromising their criminal enterprise.

Operation Cronos Map (Source: Europol)

The world’s most harmful ransomware operation

First emerged at the end of 2019, with the name of “ABCD ransomware“, LockBit grown rapidly and soon became the most deployed ransomware variant.

The success of LockBit were assured by the ransomware-as-a-service schema they provided, allowing affiliates to execute attacks using the group tools and infrastructure.

The group is also famous for experimenting new method such as the “Triple extortion” which incorporates DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks as an additional layer of pressure.

LockBit attacks led to billions in losses due to ransom payments and recovery costs.

Operation Cronos Achievements

The operation resulted in the capture of LockBit’s crucial administrative and public data leak platforms, significantly hindering their operational capabilities.

This led to the recovery of the LockBit platform’s source code and valuable intelligence on the group’s operations and collaborators.

Authorities confiscated the organization’s infrastructure and took down 34 servers in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Additionally, two LockBit actors were arrested in Poland and Ukraine.

Over 200 cryptocurrency accounts associated with LockBit were frozen, and several individuals were charged criminally in the United States for their involvement in LockBit’s cyberattacks.

The operation inflicted considerable damage on LockBit’s operational abilities and reputation, disrupting their ransomware dissemination and data leaking activities.

Authorities recovered more than 1,000 decryption keys, aiding victims in restoring their encrypted data.

Efforts persist in dismantling LockBit’s network and pursuing individuals linked to the group.

Furthermore, decryption tools were developed to help victims, now accessible via the No More Ransom‘ website.

The NCA, FBI, and the United States Department of Justice hailed the operation as a landmark success in countering cybercrime, managing to infiltrate and dismantle the cybercriminal syndicate.

This operation underscores the complex and organized nature of the cybercriminals behind LockBit and showcases the global commitment to thwarting their schemes.

Operation Cronos Achievements (Source: Europol)

Operation Cronos marks a critical turning point in the battle against cybercrime, underscoring the power of global collaboration and cutting-edge investigative methods in breaking down complex cybercriminal enterprises.

Businesses and institutions are urged to report any ransomware attacks, aiding law enforcement efforts and minimizing harm.

Additionally, the sophisticated nature of these cybercriminal groups serves as a clear reminder of the necessity for strong cybersecurity defenses to avert such incidents.

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2023 News-EN

CYBER TOUFAN: ANALYSIS OF THE LAST PRO-PALESTINIAN EMERGED GROUP

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CYBER TOUFAN: ANALYSIS OF THE LAST PRO-PALESTINIAN EMERGED GROUP

According to Check Point since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in early October 2023, there was an increase of approximately 20% in cyberattacks in Israel, including more than 50% on the government sector.
 

A new pro-Palestinian group

Among these cyber offensives a new pro-Palestinian group named Cyber Toufan recently emerged launching a massive wave of cyber attack as part of #OpCyberToufan and #OpIsrael.
Cyber Toufan logo
The group’s modus operandi consists in extracting and releasing large amounts of data from their victims, impacting millions of individuals.
 
As proof of their activities they started to publish on their Telegram channel exfiltrated data from the victims, like names, emails, phone numbers, and business interactions, and a list of private keys and certificates.
 
Israeli media defined the operation as the “largest cyberattacks in the history of Israel”, while Cyber Toufan claimed to have destroyed over 1,000 servers and breached 150 Israeli targets, including government agencies and companies.
 

The group victims

Among the affected organizations the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security, the Israel State Archives, the Tel Aviv-based security and risk management company MAX Security, the well-known cyber security company Radware, two main manufacturing companies ISCAR Metalworking and Berkshire eSupply, Ikea Israel.
Cyber Toufan victim: Israel State Archives
 
Cyber Toufan claim: ISCAR Metalworking
 
Cyber Toufan claim: Berkshire eSupply
But the group victims are not limited to Israeli ones: even the US SpaceX and Tooling Associates and the Australian Seacret seems to be affrected by the operation.
 
In total we counted 49 victims so far and the Manufacturing sector is the most affected (39% of the attacks), followed by Wholesale / retail (27%) and Government / Military / Law Enforcement (10%).
 
Cyber Toufan victims business sectors
 

A State-sponsored operation?

The cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies claimed Cyber Toufan’s style and capabilities are similar to cybercriminal groups linked to Iran, suggesting that this could potentially be a state-sponsored operation.
 
A recent report from Israeli newspaper Haaretz have raised concerns over the security issues in Israel due to the breach to several government entities.
 
 
While hacktivists are often known to exaggerate their accomplishments, Cyber Toufan’s activities have been taken seriously, as they continue to leak data from various victims on a daily basis, indicating a significant threat level.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation.
 
Stay Cyber Safe!

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2023 News-EN

SIEGEDSEC: FOURTH OPERATION AGAINST ISRAEL

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SIEGEDSEC: FOURTH OPERATION AGAINST ISRAEL

SiegedSec is a hacktivist group that emerged during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and recently claimed to have breached NATO and subsequently leaked unclassified documents online.
The group is reportedly conducting their fourth attack on Israel, intensifying their cyber offensive efforts.

The latest operation

In their latest operation, they claim to have compromised a broader range of systems within Israel’s government sector and targeted Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain.

SiegedSec fourth operation against Israel

This operation has expanded further, with SiegedSec also asserting that they have gained access to numerous documents associated with Israir, an Israeli airline based in Tel Aviv.

The exfiltrated documents, reportedly containing critical information such as internal investigations, reports, software, and credentials, have been published in Telegram SiegedSec channell for a total of 1.26 GB.

Leaked samples

The previous cyber offenses

This attack on Israel is part of a series of significant cyber offenses.

Initially, SiegedSec exfiltrated the customer database of Bezeq, an Israeli telecommunications company. Data included around 50,000 customers’ full names, email addresses, and phone numbers.

SiegedSec first attack to Bezeq

Their second operation had a broader scope, targeting Israel’s entire infrastructure. 

SiegedSec second operation against Israel

In fact they stated to have accessed and shut down the portal controlling devices throughout the country, impacting operations even in the Hungarian, Finnish, and U.S. Embassies in Israel.

Impacted areas during SiegedSec second operation aganinst Israel

In their third attack, SiegedSec targeted Cellcom, one of Israel’s leading telecommunications companies, breaching the customer support panel.
They stated to have gained access to nearly 180,000 customer records.

SiegedSec third operation against Cellcom


This attack was conducted in collaboration with Anonymous Sudan further showcasing SiegedSec’s expanding reach and capabilities.

 

In this Information Warfare scenario, an increasing number of cybercriminal groups are participating in the #OpIsrael operation, further destabilizing the war landscape between Israel and Hamas.

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