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HomeBig DataFulton County, Safety Consultants Name LockBit’s Bluff – Krebs on Safety

Fulton County, Safety Consultants Name LockBit’s Bluff – Krebs on Safety


The ransomware group LockBit instructed officers with Fulton County, Ga. they might count on to see their inner paperwork printed on-line this morning except the county paid a ransom demand. LockBit eliminated Fulton County’s itemizing from its sufferer shaming web site this morning, claiming the county had paid. However county officers mentioned they didn’t pay, nor did anybody make fee on their behalf. Safety specialists say LockBit was doubtless bluffing and possibly misplaced many of the knowledge when the gang’s servers have been seized this month by U.S. and U.Okay. regulation enforcement.

The LockBit web site included a countdown timer till the promised launch of knowledge stolen from Fulton County, Ga. LockBit would later transfer this deadline as much as Feb. 29, 2024.

LockBit listed Fulton County as a sufferer on Feb. 13, saying that except it was paid a ransom the group would publish recordsdata stolen in a breach on the county final month. That assault disrupted county telephones, Web entry and even their court docket system. LockBit leaked a small variety of the county’s recordsdata as a teaser, which appeared to incorporate delicate and sealed court docket data in present and previous prison trials.

On Feb. 16, Fulton County’s entry — together with a countdown timer till the information can be printed — was faraway from the LockBit web site with out rationalization. The chief of LockBit instructed KrebsOnSecurity this was as a result of Fulton County officers had engaged in last-minute negotiations with the group.

However on Feb. 19, investigators with the FBI and the U.Okay.’s Nationwide Crime Company (NCA) took over LockBit’s on-line infrastructure, changing the group’s homepage with a seizure discover and hyperlinks to LockBit ransomware decryption instruments.

In a press briefing on Feb. 20, Fulton County Fee Chairman Robb Pitts instructed reporters the county didn’t pay a ransom demand, noting that the board “couldn’t in good conscience use Fulton County taxpayer funds to make a fee.”

Three days later, LockBit reemerged with new domains on the darkish internet, and with Fulton County listed amongst a half-dozen different victims whose knowledge was about to be leaked in the event that they refused to pay. Because it does with all victims, LockBit assigned Fulton County a countdown timer, saying officers had till late within the night on March 1 till their knowledge was printed.

LockBit revised its deadline for Fulton County to Feb. 29.

LockBit quickly moved up the deadline to the morning of Feb. 29. As Fulton County’s LockBit timer was counting all the way down to zero this morning, its itemizing disappeared from LockBit’s website. LockBit’s chief and spokesperson, who goes by the deal with “LockBitSupp,” instructed KrebsOnSecurity at present that Fulton County’s knowledge disappeared from their website as a result of county officers paid a ransom.

“Fulton paid,” LockBitSupp mentioned. When requested for proof of fee, LockBitSupp claimed. “The proof is that we deleted their knowledge and didn’t publish it.”

However at a press convention at present, Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts mentioned the county doesn’t know why its knowledge was faraway from LockBit’s website.

“As I stand right here at 4:08 p.m., we aren’t conscious of any knowledge being launched at present up to now,” Pitts mentioned. “That doesn’t imply the menace is over. They might launch no matter knowledge they’ve at any time. We’ve no management over that. We’ve not paid any ransom. Nor has any ransom been paid on our behalf.”

Brett Callow, a menace analyst with the safety agency Emsisoft, mentioned LockBit doubtless misplaced the entire sufferer knowledge it stole earlier than the FBI/NCA seizure, and that it has been attempting madly since then to save lots of face inside the cybercrime group.

“I believe it was a case of them attempting to persuade their associates that they have been nonetheless in fine condition,” Callow mentioned of LockBit’s latest actions. “I strongly suspect this would be the finish of the LockBit model.”

Others have come to the same conclusion. The safety agency RedSense posted an evaluation to Twitter/X that after the takedown, LockBit printed a number of “new” sufferer profiles for corporations that it had listed weeks earlier on its sufferer shaming website. These sufferer companies — a healthcare supplier and main securities lending platform — additionally have been unceremoniously faraway from LockBit’s new shaming web site, regardless of LockBit claiming their knowledge can be leaked.

“We’re 99% certain the remainder of their ‘new victims’ are additionally pretend claims (outdated knowledge for brand spanking new breaches),” RedSense posted. “So the most effective factor for them to do can be to delete all different entries from their weblog and cease defrauding trustworthy folks.”

Callow mentioned there actually have been loads of circumstances previously the place ransomware gangs exaggerated their plunder from a sufferer group. However this time feels totally different, he mentioned.

“It’s a bit uncommon,” Callow mentioned. “That is about attempting to nonetheless associates’ nerves, and saying, ‘All is effectively, we weren’t as badly compromised as regulation enforcement steered.’ However I believe you’d need to be a idiot to work with a corporation that has been so completely hacked as LockBit has.”



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