At a glance.
- Eastern European gangs overcome their reservations about anglophone criminals.
- Mirth Connect vulnerable to critical flaw.
- A look at a mercenary spyware strain.
- “PepsiCo” used as phishbait.
- Prebunking disinformation.
- Russian intelligence services' cyber operations in the hybrid war.
- Russian hacktivist auxiliaries pester Australia for "Russophobia."
- Quantum computing and law enforcement.
Eastern European gangs overcome their reservations about anglophone criminals.
Microsoft describes “Octo Tempest,” a financially motivated threat actor that uses social engineering to compromise organizations around the world.
“In mid-2023," Microsoft researchers write. "Octo Tempest became an affiliate of ALPHV/BlackCat, a human-operated ransomware as a service (RaaS) operation, and initial victims were extorted for data theft (with no ransomware deployment) using ALPHV Collections leak site. This is notable in that, historically, Eastern European ransomware groups refused to do business with native English-speaking criminals. By June 2023, Octo Tempest started deploying ALPHV/BlackCat ransomware payloads (both Windows and Linux versions) to victims and lately has focused their deployments primarily on VMWare ESXi servers. Octo Tempest progressively broadened the scope of industries targeted for extortion, including natural resources, gaming, hospitality, consumer products, retail, managed service providers, manufacturing, law, technology, and financial services.” Among the gang's victims, the Record points out, was MGM Resorts. At the time of that attack, the group was being called Scattered Spider, 0ktapus or UNC3944
One of the more repellent features of Octo Tempest's activity is its willingness to make direct personal threats of violence to bully victims into giving up their credentials. A sample threat reads as follows (and we note that speaking English doesn't mean writing it well--the language is coarse, debased, and primitive): "if we dont get ur [redacted] login in the next 20 minutes were sending a shooter to ur house ur wife is gonna get shot if u dont fold it lmk [redacted] well send shooters to both LOL." For more on Octo Tempest, see CyberWire Pro.