ALPHV/BlackCat ransomware group has adopted a new strategy to force victims into paying the ransom, the gang began publishing victims’ data on the clear web to increase the pressure. Publishing data online will make data indexable by search engines, increasing the potential impact on the victims due to the public availability of the stolen data.
The ALPHA/BlackCat gang has been active since at least December 2021 when malware researchers from Recorded Future and MalwareHunterTeam discovered their operation. The ALPHA/BlackCat is the first professional ransomware strain that was written in the Rust programming language.
BlackCat can target Windows, Linux, and VMWare ESXi systems, but at this time the number of victims is limited. The popular malware researcher Michael Gillespie said that the BlackCat ransomware is “very sophisticated.
Recorded Future experts speculate that the author of the BlackCat ransomware, known as ALPHV, was previously involved with the REvil ransomware operations.
ALPHV has been advertising the BlackCat Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) on the cybercrime forums XSS and Exploit since early December. Like other ransomware groups, the gang also implements a double-extortion model, threatening to leak the stolen data if the victims don’t pay.
In the past, many victims of past ransomware attacks were not concerned about the publication of their data on a leak site in the Tor network believing that dark nets are not easy to access to the masses.
The ransomware gangs set up a website on the clear web for each victims and publish the stolen data on it.
It’s unclear if ALPHV plans to pursue this approach with every victim, but other recent victims of the crime group include a school district and a U.S. city. Most likely, this is a test run to see if it improves results.
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