In the aftermath of last year’s leak of the LockBit 3.0 ransomware encryptor builder, cybersecurity researchers have been tracking a proliferation of new variants. This digital Pandora’s box has unleashed a wave of cyber threats, with hundreds of unique ransomware strains emerging from the original LockBit blueprint.
Kaspersky, a renowned cybersecurity firm, has recently identified a significantly modified version of LockBit. This new strain was reportedly unleashed by a group self-identifying as NATIONAL HAZARD AGENCY. The group targeted an undisclosed entity, distinguishing itself from its LockBit 3.0 progenitor through a unique ransom note.
Typically, LockBit ransomware doesn’t disclose the demanded ransom upfront. Instead, it uses a proprietary platform to negotiate with its victims. However, this new group broke from tradition, specifying the exact amount they expected and instructing victims to use a Tox service and email for communication.
But NATIONAL HAZARD AGENCY is not the only group to have repurposed LockBit for its own nefarious ends. Kaspersky’s data reveals nearly 400 unique LockBit samples, with 312 created using the leaked builder. Interestingly, at least 77 samples have completely disassociated themselves from the original LockBit, not even mentioning it in their ransom notes.
The researchers noted that many of these new variants closely resemble the original LockBit, suggesting they were either hastily developed or the work of less meticulous actors. LockBit’s notoriety isn’t unfounded. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in collaboration with the FBI, Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), and cybersecurity authorities from several countries, recently declared LockBit as one of the most successful ransomware threats. According to a security advisory published by these organizations, LockBit has pilfered approximately $91 million from US victims alone since 2020.
Over the past three years, it has successfully breached about 1,700 American organizations. In 2021, a significant 16% of all attacks targeted State, Local, and Tribunal (SLTT) governments, with municipal governments, educational institutions, and public service organizations being particularly vulnerable.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the importance of robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, cannot be overstated. The LockBit saga serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of cyber threats and the importance of constant vigilance in the face of ever-evolving digital dangers. Source: TheHackerNews
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