Ransomware groups are constantly devising new methods for infecting victims and convincing them to pay up, but a couple of strategies tested recently seem especially devious.
The first centers on targeting healthcare organizations that offer consultations over the Internet and sending them booby-trapped medical records for the “patient.” The other involves carefully editing email inboxes of public company executives to make it appear that some were involved in insider trading.
Alex Holden is founder of Hold Security, a Milwaukee-based cybersecurity firm. Holden’s team gained visibility into discussions among members of two different ransom groups: CLOP (a.k.a. “Cl0p” a.k.a. “TA505“), and a newer ransom group known as Venus.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warned that Venus ransomware attacks were targeting a number of U.S. healthcare organizations. First spotted in mid-August 2022, Venus is known for hacking into victims’ publicly-exposed Remote Desktop services to encrypt Windows devices.
Holden said the internal discussions among the Venus group members indicate this gang has no problem gaining access to victim organizations.
“The Venus group has problems getting paid,” Holden said. “They are targeting a lot of U.S. companies, but nobody wants to pay them.”
The new findings illustrate the threat actor’s continued abuse of Internet Explorer flaws such as CVE-2020-1380 and CVE-2021-26411 to drop backdoors like BLUELIGHT and Dolphin, the latter of which was disclosed by Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET late last month.
Another key tool in its arsenal is RokRat, a Windows-based remote access trojan that comes with a wide range of functions that allow it to capture screenshots, log keystrokes, and even harvest Bluetooth device information.