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Security advisories — May 10, 2021

Darkside Ransomware

2 minutes read
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THE THREAT

On May 7, 2021 Colonial Pipeline was the victim of a ransomware attack. According to official statements from Colonial[1], this attack negatively impacted operations, initially halting pipeline operations as certain systems were taken offline to contain the threat. Colonial is actively working with law enforcement and government partners to investigate the threat as they restore pipeline operations.

On May 10th, the FBI released a statement[2] attributing the attack to the Darkside ransomware threat group. Darkside operates using a Ransomware-as-a-Service (Raas) model and utilizes the double extortion technique (data encryption, data theft and leak). eSentire is closely monitoring this event for actionable information to protect our customers.

What we’re doing about it

What you should do about it

Additional information

According to research from security services firm CyberReason [3], Darkside first emerged in August 2020 following the Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model. This model outsources the intrusion and deployment of Darkside ransomware by other threat actors in return for a share of the ransom payment. Darkside operates a leak site, where stolen data is posted to further increase pressure on victims. Darkside primarily targets organizations in English speaking countries and various industries. Notably, affiliates are instructed to avoid targets such as hospitals, NPOs and companies responsible for COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution.

As Darkside operates with the RaaS model, intrusion actions leading to Darkside ransomware deployment vary. According to public sources [3] [4], operators have gained entry through insecure remote access services using compromised credentials. Once inside the network, attackers used known techniques for increasing access and compromising the network, including Living-off-the-Land Binaries (LOLbins) and offensive security tools such as Cobalt Strike, Mimikatz and others. Similar to ransomware attacks observed by eSentire, Darkside operators reportedly target Domain Controllers from which additional actions can be taken in pursuit of their objectives.

eSentire security teams are tracking the Colonial incident and will take action as necessary to update detection measures.

References:

[1] https://www.colpipe.com/news/press-releases/media-statement-colonial-pipeline-system-disruption
[2] https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-statement-on-network-disruption-at-colonial-pipeline
[3] https://www.cybereason.com/blog/cybereason-vs-darkside-ransomware
[4] https://www.varonis.com/blog/darkside-ransomware/

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