REvil Ransomware has hit high street this week, as the fashion company French Connection has become infected with the notorious strain of ransomware. It is believed that REvil Ransomware operators breached the company’s back-end and stole private internal data. French Connection was established in 1972. Originally founded as a mid-market fashion brand, the company has since expanded to include men’s and women’s accessories.
While the exact attack vector has not yet been confirmed, cybersecurity researchers believe that the hackers exploited a security vulnerability on the back-end to carry out the attack. It is likely that unpatched software or hardware led to the breach and following encryption.
The gang has been using the scans of several high-profile individuals, including those of the founder and chief executive Stephen Marks, chief financial officer Lee Williams, and chief operating officer Neil Williams, to prove the breach took place.
French Connection has confirmed that it was the target of a cyber-attack that affected its back-end servers. Although it is believed that the front-end servers – those that process payments for French Connection’s online outlets – were not affected by the attack, the company noted.
Due to a breach, the company immediately suspended all systems and engaged third-party experts to help resolve the situation:
“As soon as it became aware of the breach, the company took immediate action, suspending all affected systems and engaging third-party experts to assist with resolving the situation,” French Connection’s statement continued. “The company is now actively working to restore its systems as quickly and safely as possible and where necessary is using manual overrides to ensure that the company can continue to operate.”
French Connection said it had no evidence that any data related to its customers was accessed during the breach, and the company is “continuing to operate largely as normal.”
The company have yet to disclose the amount demanded by REvil Ransomware operators.
REvil Ransomware Analysis
REvil Ransomware is a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), meaning it can be sold on a subscription basis and is usable by just about anybody. In 2020, it extorted large amounts of money for corporations and individuals. According to researchers, it is the most widespread ransomware strain. Groups using have a knack for shaking down businesses that don’t meet their demands, often through threats or leaking dating.
REvil Ransomware, also known as Sodinokibi, first appeared in April 2019 and rose to prominence after another RaaS gang called GandCrab shut down its service. REvil was first advertised on Russian-language cybercrime forums. The main actor associated with advertising and promoting REvil ransomware is called Unknown aka UNKN. In the early days of REvil, researchers and security firms identified it as a strain of GandCrab, or at least established multiple links between the two. An alleged member of the group, using the handle Unknown, confirmed in an interview that the ransomware was not a new creation and that it was built on top of an older codebase that the group acquired.
The group behind REvil Ransomware and other groups selling RaaS often do so on a commission basis. Usually, this means a cut of between 20% and 30% of the money earned through infecting victims with ransomware.
In 2020, the IBM Security X-Force Incident Response reported that 1 in 3 Ransomware infections were caused by REvil Ransomware.
In February 2021, the REvil ransomware operation posted a job notice where they were looking to recruit people to perform DDoS attacks and use VOIP calls to contact victims and their partners.
In March, a security researcher known as 3xp0rt discovered that REvil has announced that they were introducing new tactics that affiliates can use to exert even more pressure on victims.
These new tactics include a free service where the threat actors, or affiliated partners, will perform voice-scrambled VOIP calls to the media and victim’s business partners with information about the attack. The ransomware gang is likely assuming that warning businesses that their data may have been exposed in an attack on of their partners, will create further pressure for the victim to pay.
REvil Ransomware is also providing a paid service that allows affiliates to perform Layer 3 and Layer 7 DDoS attacks against a company for maximum pressure. A Layer 3 attack is commonly used to take down the company’s Internet connection. In contrast, threat actors would use a Layer 7 attack to take down a publicly accessible application, such as a web server.
It is highly configurable, and it can be customized to behave differently depending on the host. This makes it a highly attractive RaaS client. Some of its features include:
- Exploits a kernel privilege escalation vulnerability to gain SYSTEM privileges using CVE-2018-8453.
- Whitelists files, folders and extensions from encryption.
- Kills specific processes and services prior to encryption.
- Encrypts files on local and network storage.
- Customizes the name and body of the ransom note, and the contents of the background image.
- Exfiltrates encrypted information on the infected host to remote controllers.
- REvil Ransomware uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) for communication with its controllers.
REvil ransomware exploits a kernel privilege escalation vulnerability in win32k.sys tracked as CVE-2018-8453 to gain SYSTEM privileges on the infected host. If the configuration instructs a sample to execute this exploit, it will allocate executable memory, decrypt the exploit code in the newly allocated region and invoke it.
Protection Against Ransomware
REvil Ransomware and other Ransomware clients are some of the most common and deadly cybersecurity threats out there today. Families and businesses should be aware of these threats, and equip the right tools to tackle them. One of these tools is SaferNet.
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