Lockbit ransomware gang creates first malicious bug bounty program

ByMargie D. Moore

Jun 28, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Currently, the Lockbit ransomware gang announced the start of Lockbit 3., a new ransomware-as-a-provider featuring and a bug bounty software. 

In accordance to Lockbit’s leak site, as part of the bug bounty software, the cyber gang will pay all protection researchers, ethical and unethical hackers” to supply Personally Identifiable Details (PII) on high-profile individuals and web exploits in exchange for remuneration ranging from $1,000 to $1 million.  

The development comes soon right after the infamous Conti ransomware group disbanded, and as Lockbit is getting to be one of the most prolific ransomware gangs in procedure, accounting for practically 50 % of all recognized ransomware attacks in May 2022. 

What a destructive bug bounty software means for the threat landscape 

Lockbit’s malicious inversion of the idea of authentic bug bounty packages popularized by providers like Bugcrowd and HackerOne, which incentivize security researchers to detect vulnerabilities so they can be mounted, highlights how malicious threats are evolving.

“With the drop of the Conti ransomware group, LockBit has positioned itself as the top ransomware group working now centered on its volume of assaults in modern months. The release of LockBit 3. with the introduction of a bug bounty plan is a formal invitation to cybercriminals to support assist the team in its quest to remain at the leading,” claimed Senior Personnel Investigation Engineer at Tenable, Satnam Narang. 

For LockBit, enlisting the aid of researchers and criminals across the darkish web has the possible not only to recognize likely targets, but to protected its leak sites in opposition to regulation enforcement. 

“A vital emphasis of the bug bounty plan are defensive steps: protecting against protection scientists and regulation enforcement from finding bugs in its leak sites or ransomware, identifying strategies that customers including the affiliate application boss could be doxed, as well as funding bugs within just the messaging computer software utilised by the group for interior communications and the Tor community alone,” Narang stated. 

The composing on the wall is that Lockbit’s adversarial tactic is about to get substantially far more complex.  “Anyone that nonetheless uncertainties cybercriminal gangs have reached a amount of maturity that rivals the companies they concentrate on may perhaps have to have to reassess,” explained Senior Complex Engineer at Vulcan Cyber, Mike Parkin.

What about the potential downsides for Lockbit? 

Even though trying to get exterior assistance has the possible to improve Lockbit’s functions, some others are skeptical that other threat actors will participate in sharing details that they could exploit to achieve entry to focus on corporations. 

At the very same time, numerous authentic researchers could double their attempts to discover vulnerabilities in the group’s leak site. 

“This growth is different, on the other hand, I doubt they will get numerous takers. I know that if I discover a vulnerability, I’m using it to put them in prison. If a legal finds one, it’ll be to steal from them since there is no honor among the ransomware operators,” stated Principal Menace Hunter at Netenrich, John Bambenek. 

How can businesses respond? 

If menace actors do engage in sharing info with Lockbit in exchange for a reward, companies need to be substantially much more proactive about mitigating dangers in their setting.  

At the quite minimum, security leaders ought to believe that any folks with know-how of vulnerabilities in the computer software offer chain will be tempted to share them with the group. 

“This ought to have every single business on the lookout at the protection of their interior offer chain, which includes who and what has obtain to their code, and any insider secrets in it. Unethical bounty courses like this change passwords and keys in code into gold for every person who has accessibility to your code,” said Head of Item and Developer Enablement at BluBracket, Casey Bisson.
In excess of the up coming several months, vulnerability management should be a leading priority, building sure that there are no potential entry points in inner or exterior going through assets that probable attackers could exploit.

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