Thursday, March 21, 2024

Threat Actors Dropping Multiple Ransomware Variants

I ran across an interesting LinkedIn post recently, "interesting" in the sense that it addressed something I hadn't seen a great deal of reporting on; that is, ransomware threat actors dropping multiple RaaS variants within a single compromised organization.

Now, I have heard of impacted orgs being hit multiple times, over the course of weeks, months. or even years. But what I hadn't heard/seen a great deal of was a single organization being compromised by a single threat actor, and that threat actor/affiliate dropping multiple RaaS variants.

Here's the original post from Anastasia that caught my attention. Anastasia's post shares some speculation as to motivations for this approach, which kind of illustrates how this particular topic (motivations) is poorly understood. In item #1 on her list, I think what I'd be most in starting with is a better understanding as to how the findings were arrived at; that is, what were the data points that led to finding that a single affiliate was working with two different RaaS providers simultaneously. As someone who is very interested in the specifics of how threat actors go about their activities (the specifics as to how, not just the what), I have seen systems that were apparently compromised by two different threat actors simultaneously. I've also been involved in providing analysis for incidents where we were able to identify members of a threat group changing shifts, kind of like Fred Flinstone sliding down the back of a brontosaurus. 

From there you can see in the comments, Valery begins responding with some very helpful insight and direction, referring to the topic as "cross-claims". One of the links he provides is a LinkedIn post from Alex that provides some interesting references to how he (Alex) was able to determine that the same threat actor was deploying both Trigona and BlackCat within the same impacted organization. Within the comments to Alex's post, Valery shared an interesting X/Twitter thread, as well.

I should note that the Huntress team has seen both Trigona and BlackCat affiliates in action, albeit not within the same infrastructure, at the same time.

Like I said, I hadn't seen a great deal of open reporting on this particular topic, and it does sound like an interesting tactic, although I'm not entirely sure that I understand the point. I'm sure that it adds some complexity to the claims process, for those who have cyber insurance policies.

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