Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cybercrime

FBI Warns of Cuba Ransomware Attacks on Critical Infrastructure

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning over Cuba ransomware attacks targeting critical infrastructure.

As of November 2021, the gang behind Cuba ransomware managed to compromise at least 49 entities in the government, healthcare, financial, information technology, and manufacturing sectors.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued a warning over Cuba ransomware attacks targeting critical infrastructure.

As of November 2021, the gang behind Cuba ransomware managed to compromise at least 49 entities in the government, healthcare, financial, information technology, and manufacturing sectors.

To help organizations better defend against this threat, the FBI has released indicators of compromise (IoCs) associated with Cuba ransomware, along with details on the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) employed by the gang, and a series of recommended mitigations.

Distributed through Hancitor, the Cuba file-encrypting ransomware first emerged in late 2019 and is known for appending the “.cuba” extension to the encrypted files.

To date, the cybercriminals behind this operation have demanded at least $74 million in ransom, and might have received over $43.9 million in payments from their victims, the FBI says.

Hancitor operators gain access to victim networks using phishing emails, unpatched vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange servers, compromised credentials, and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) tools, after which they drop various malware, including ransomware, for further compromise.

Once they have access to a network, the Cuba ransomware gang employs legitimate tools – such as PowerShell, PsExec, and others — and Windows admin privileges to run their malware. A Cobalt Strike beacon is also typically installed on the compromised machines.

After the ransomware is installed, two other files are dropped to steal passwords and gain the ability to write a temporary (TMP) file to the system. The file contains API calls for memory injection.

Leveraging stolen credentials, the Cuba ransomware threat actors log into the compromised network using a specific user account.

To reduce the risk of compromise from this ransomware family, organizations are advised to employ strong and unique passwords, use two-factor authentication, keep all software updated, block unnecessary access to administrative shares, implement network segmentation, scan the network for abnormal activity, and to employ protection solutions such as firewalls and anti-malware software.

Related: ‘Sabbath’ Ransomware Operators Target Critical Infrastructure

Related: Babuk Ransomware Seen Exploiting ProxyShell Vulnerabilities

Related: FBI Warns Ransomware Attack Could Disrupt Food Supply Chain

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cybercrime

Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.

Cybercrime

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Cybercrime

A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...

Cybercrime

The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Management & Strategy

Industry professionals comment on the recent disruption of the Hive ransomware operation and its hacking by law enforcement.

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Ransomware

US government reminds the public that a reward of up to $10 million is offered for information on cybercriminals, including members of the Hive...

Cybercrime

Video games developer Riot Games says source code was stolen from its development environment in a ransomware attack