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Friday, 12 June 2020 09:58

Windows ransomware groups co-operating to leak data

Windows ransomware groups co-operating to leak data Pixabay

Ransomware groups appear to be co-operating with each other to leak data, security sources have told iTWire, with two recent incidents highlighting what could well be a further headache in a growing problem.

One case of sharing was evidenced in data from the people behind the Ragnar Locker ransomware being displayed on the Maze website (screenshot below).

The reason for this collaboration could be because it will expose the data that is leaked to a bigger audience and attract more interest from those in the cyber underground.


In a second case, the Ragnar Locker group put up data supplied by Maze on its website. This data was from the US subsidiary of the Singapore-based global defence group ST Engineering which has taken two hits from Maze this year.

This post was a second leak from the same firm, which included a non-disclosure agreement and the CVs of several company officials.

Ransomware groups have rapidly adopted a new feature which now means that any attack also means a data breach.


ST Engineering data from Maze displayed on the Ragnar Locker website.

The malware has additional functionality to exfiltrate data before encrypting it on-site and generating a ransom note.

The exfiltrated data is then used to squeeze a victim, being released on the ransomware group's website in drips and drabs if the victim refuses to pay up.

After a while, the data is also posted to dark web forums frequented by cyber criminals for use as they wish.

Asked for his take on this new trend, Brett Callow, a threat analyst from Emsisoft, a New Zealand-headquartered security firm, said: "The ransomware groups probably believe that distributing stolen data via multiple leak sites will apply further pressure to companies.

"Co-operation such as this is a concerning development as it could eventually result in groups combining their expertise in order to be able to attack companies more effectively."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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