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AXA Confirms Ransomware Attack Impacted Operations in Asia

France-based insurance giant AXA has confirmed that some of its operations in Asia have been impacted by a ransomware attack.

A cybercrime gang that uses a piece of ransomware named Avaddon appears to be behind the attack.

France-based insurance giant AXA has confirmed that some of its operations in Asia have been impacted by a ransomware attack.

A cybercrime gang that uses a piece of ransomware named Avaddon appears to be behind the attack.

Avaddon operators have a Tor-based website where they name victims that don’t cooperate and leak data stolen from them. In the case of AXA, the cybercriminals said they targeted AXA systems in Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia, and they claim to have stolen 3TB of data.

The gang claims to have stolen files storing customer information, including ones containing information such as medical reports, claims, payments, bank account information, contracts, and ID cards. They have published roughly 20 screenshots to prove their claims.

The cybercriminals have also launched DDoS attacks against the websites operated by AXA for Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. They started launching DDoS attacks to further extort their victims earlier this year.

AXA Avaddon ransomware

In a statement to the media, AXA said a “targeted ransomware attack” impacted its Asia Assistance division, specifically IT operations in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines. The company has confirmed that the hackers may have stolen some information from its systems, but — based on its investigation so far — it believes only data processed by Inter Partners Assistance in Thailand was accessed.

The company has notified business partners and regulators, and it has promised to contact impacted individuals if it confirms that sensitive data has been compromised.

The attack targeting AXA came to light a week after — in an apparent industry first — the insurance giant announced that it will stop writing insurance policies for extortion payments made to ransomware operators.

The suspension only applies to France and does not impact existing policies. It also does not affect coverage for responding and recovering from ransomware attacks.

AXA is not the only insurer hit by ransomware in recent months. Chicago, Illinois-based CNA announced last week that it had fully restored systems after detecting a ransomware attack in March.

Related: Inside the Ransomware Economy

Related: Disruptions at Pan-American Life Likely Caused by Ransomware Attack

Related: Security Researchers Dive Into DarkSide Ransomware

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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