Cyberattack: another big company is a ransomware victim
Another cyberattack with devastating consequences for financial institutions. The target now was BancoEstado, one of the three largest Chilean banks, which was affected by ransomware on September 6. According to a statement to Chile’s Cybersecurity Incident Response Team (CSIRT), the cyberattack is believed to have involved the Sodinokibi ransomware, also known as Revil.
On the 6th, the bank informed through a statement that it had detected malicious software in its operating systems and that their platforms could have some kind of unavailability due to the incident. However, ATMs and Internet Banking were not affected, nor were the resources of its customers or the institution itself. It is believed that the attack, again, was orchestrated through Social Engineering, when one of the bank’s employees opened an Office document infected with the virus.
By compromising the employee’s machine, the attacker was able, through lateral movement, to infect more than 12,000 endpoints and affect the operations of all 416 branches of the Chilean bank.
After detecting the cyberattack on the 5th, Saturday, BancoEstado reported the incident to the Comisión para el Mercado Financiero (CMF), the equivalent of our Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM), which soon issued an alert to the Chilean banking system.
Long lines formed in the days following the cyberattack in front of BancoEstado branches. Account holders have complained on Twitter about various anomalies in their accounts, such as uncredited transfers to destination accounts, as well as lack of access to investment accounts, and inconsistent data in the amount totals. At the same time, there are reports that cybercriminals have started spam campaigns on behalf of the bank to capture customer credentials.
An attack of this magnitude indicates major flaws in the control of access to internal networks, including an efficient monitoring and response system. This involves the lack of computational and human resources for adequate response to incidents.
Another organization victim of the same ransomware that hit BancoEstado, in July this year, was Telecom Argentina, the country’s largest telephone operator. In this specific case, the required amount was US $ 7.5 million.
But, what is the Sodinokibi ransomware and how does it work?
Sodinokibi is a family of ransomware that affects Windows systems and encrypts important files, requesting a cash amount to decrypt them. The ransomware creators are also associated with other malicious software, GandCrab, which was already linked to approximately 40% of global ransomware infections before being retired by its creators in June 2019. Thus, one can already have an idea of the potential for Sodinokibi infection.
The first difference noticed by users when having their device infected by ransomware is an infection warning, when the files are already encrypted. The ransom instructions are also visible on the user’s Desktop.
More than ever, cyberattacks through ransomware are among the biggest risks for organizations of all sizes and industries. According to the Mid-Year Threat Landscape Report 2020, there was a 750% increase in attack attempts through malicious software involving ransoms. And not only is the number of these attacks increasing but so is their sophistication.
In many cases, malicious attackers use threats against their victims to leak encrypted data, something that can compel them to pay the high amounts required as a ransom. One of the causes is the heavy sanctions that organizations are subject to in case of data leaks. If the leak involves personal data of European citizens and the organization is subject to GDPR, the fine could reach up to 50 million euros. If it takes place in Brazil and the LGPD is applied, this amount can reach up to 50 million reais.
One of the ways to mitigate the risks associated with a ransomware infection is to ensure that security updates are applied as soon as they are released by developers. By doing this, one can prevent malicious attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities to infect the environment. The implementation of features such as Multifactor Authentication is another strategy that prevents hackers from moving laterally through the environment and infecting even more endpoints.
Cybersecurity teams must also perform backups of their systems, as well as periodic testing as part of their disaster recovery and incident response plans. Thus, it is possible to guarantee that the systems are recovered without the need to pay a ransom.
Deploying a PAM solution such as senhasegura is also an excellent way to mitigate cybersecurity (and business) risks associated with ransomware infection.
Through our Privilege Elevation and Delegation Management solution, senhasegura.go, one can segregate access to sensitive information, isolating critical environments, and correlating events to identify any suspicious behavior. By controlling lists of authorized, notified, and blocked actions with different permissions for each user, senhasegura.go allows reducing the risks linked to the installation of malicious software and abuse of privilege, which can compromise the environment. Finally, through senhasegura, one can overcome the challenges of implementing controls for data protection legislation such as GDPR and LGPD, as well as PCI, ISO, SOX, and NIST regulations, with the automation of privileged access controls to achieve maturity in the audited processes.
Referring back to the BancoEstado case, a team of Microsoft security experts took action to try to recover the systems and resume the bank’s operations. As of September 11, approximately 350 branches had been reopened, with the expectation of a full recovery of operations by the following days. However, the consequences of the cyberattack are clear: loss of revenue (and probably customers), in addition to reputational damage and possible penalties for the incident