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GandCrab ransomware operation says it’s shutting down



The creators of the GandCrab ransomware announced yesterday they were shutting down their Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) operation, ZDNet has learned.

The GandCrab RaaS is an online portal where crooks sign up and pay to get access to custom builds of the GandCrab ransomware, which they later distribute via email spam, exploit kits, or other means.

When an infected user pays a ransom demand, the original GandCrab author earns a small commission, while the rest of the money goes to the crook who distributed the ransomware.

Retirement plans

Yesterday night, a source in the malware community has told ZDNet that the GandCrab RaaS operator formally announced plans to shut down their service within a month.

The announcement was made in an official thread on a well-known hacking forum, where the GandCrab RaaS has advertised its service since January 2018, when it formally launched.

In the forum message, the GandCrab authors bragged about the ransomware having earned over $2 billion in ransom payments, with the operators making roughly $2.5 million per week and $150 million per year. It goes without saying that these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

“We successfully cashed this money and legalized it in various spheres of white business both in real life and on the Internet,” the GandCrab crew bragged.

“We are leaving for a well-deserved retirement,” they said. “We have proved that by doing evil deeds, retribution does not come.”

GandCrab forum ad

Our source tells ZDNet that this was the last step in a process that started earlier this week when the GandCrab crew announced RaaS customers via private emails about plans to shut down the service.

Renters of the GandCrab ransomware were told to wind down operations and cash out within the next month.

Plans to delete decryption keys

The forum thread also leaves an ominous message for GandCrab victims, as the GandCrab RaaS operators said they were planning to delete all decryption keys, making file recovery for infected victims impossible.

Some of the security researchers we approached have told ZDNet this could be a ploy to make victims panic and pay the ransom demand. However, they shifted their views when they learned that GandCrab RaaS customers were also told to wind down operations.

In the past, when ransomware operations have shut down, they usually tended to release all victim decryption keys for free so that users could recover their data. Something like this happened for victims of ransomware families such as TeslaCrypt, XData, Crysis, and FilesLocker.

Even the GandCrab crew showed some compassion in the past by releasing free decryption keys for all users infected in war-torn Syria.

GandCrab was on the decline

A chart shared with ZDNet by Michael Gillespie — the creator of ID-Ransomware, a service that lets ransomware victims identify the type of ransomware that has infected their systems — shows a steady decline in GandCrab activity this month.

GandCrab IDR stats

Image: Michael Gillespie

The chart shows that GandCrab was losing customers even before the shutdown announcement.

Over the past year, the GandCrab ransomware family has been one of the most active ransomware threats around. It was one of the few ransomware strains that were being mass-distributed via email spam and exploit kits, but also as part of targeted attacks against high-profile organizations (a tactic known as big-game hunting) at the same time.

The ransomware has seen frequent updates and is currently at version 5.2, at the time of today’s shutdown.

Cyber-security firm Bitdefender released GandCrab decryptors on three occasions over the past year. These are apps that allow victims to recover encrypted files without paying the ransom. The last one was released in February this year and could decrypt GandCrab versions up to version 5.1 (with the exemption of v2 and v3).

The GandCrab author also had a spat with South Korean security vendor AhnLab last summer after the security firm released a vaccine for the GandCrab ransomware. As retaliation, they included a zero-day for the AhnLab antivirus in the GandCrab code.

Recently, Sophos Labs has observed criminal groups scanning the internet for open MySQL databases running on Windows systems, which they tried to infect with GandCrab. Probably the most high-profile attack that GandCrab was behind is a series of infections at customers of remote IT support firms in the month of February.

If the GandCrab crew follows through on their plans and actually shuts down, their legacy remains as one of a ransomware strain that has dominated the ransomware landscape in the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019, when it was, by far, the most active strain on the market.

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Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World



This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in Cloud Native Vulnerability Management, featuring analyst Iben Rodriguez and special guest from Palo Alto Networks, John Morello. The discussion will focus on optimizing cloud security posture and integration with enterprise tool sets.

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Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together



Software development teams are increasingly focused on identifying and mitigating any issues as quickly and completely as possible. This relates not only to software quality but also software security. Different organizations are at different levels when it comes to having their development teams and security teams working in concert, but the simple fact remains that there are far more developers out there than security engineers.

Those factors are leading organizations to consider security tooling and automation to proactively discover and resolve any software security issues throughout the development process. In the recent report, “GigaOm Radar for Developer Security Tools,” Shea Stewart examines a roundup of security tools aimed at software development teams.

Stewart identified three critical criteria to bear in mind when evaluating developer security tools. These include:

  • Vendors providing tools to improve application security can and should also enhance an organization’s overall security posture.
  • The prevailing “shift-left” mindset doesn’t necessarily mean the responsibility for reducing risk should shift to development, but instead focusing on security earlier in the process and continuing to do so throughout the development process will reduce risk and the need for extensive rework.
  • Security throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) is critical for any organization focused on reducing risk.

Figure 1. How Cybersecurity Applies Across Each Stage of the Software Development Lifecycle *Note: This report focuses only on the Developer Security Tooling area

Individual vendors have made varying levels of progress and innovation toward enhancing developer security. Following several acquisitions, Red Hat, Palo Alto Networks, and Rapid7 have all added tooling for developer security to their platforms. Stewart sees a couple of the smaller vendors like JFrog and Sonatype as continuing to innovate to remain ahead of the market.

Vendors delving into this category and moving deeper into “DevSecOps” all seem to be taking different approaches to their enhanced security tooling. While they are involving security in every aspect of the development process, some tend to be moving more quickly to match the pace of the SDLC. Others are trying to shore up existing platforms by adding functionality through acquisition. Both infrastructure and software developers are now sharing toolsets and processes, so these development security tools must account for the requirements of both groups.

While none of the 12 vendors evaluated in this report can provide comprehensive security throughout the entire SDLC, they all have their particular strengths and areas of focus. It is therefore incumbent upon the organization to fully and accurately assess its SDLC, involve the development and security teams, and match the unique requirements with the functionality provided by these tools. Even if it involves using more than one at different points throughout the process, focus on striking a balance between stringent security and simplifying the development process.

Read more: Key Criteria for Evaluating Developer Security Tools, and the Gigaom Radar for Developer Security Tool Companies.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)



Cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary practice that not only grows in complexity annually but evolves nearly as quickly. A survey of the security landscape today would reveal concerns ranging from the classic compromised servers to the relatively new DevSecOps practices aimed at securing the rapid deployment of new code and infrastructure. However, some things remain constant no matter how much change is introduced. While technology evolves and complexity varies, there is almost always a human component in
risks presented to an organization.

User Behavior Analysis (UBA) was designed to analyze the actions of users in an organization and attempt to identify normal and abnormal behaviors. From this analysis, malicious or risky behaviors can be detected. UBA solutions identify events that are not detectable using other methods because, unlike classic security tools (an IDS or SIEM for example), UBA does not simply pattern match or apply rule sets to data to identify security events. Instead, it looks for any and all deviations from baseline user activity.

As technology advanced and evolved, and the scope of what is connected to the network grew, the need to analyze entities other than users emerged. In response, entity analysis has been added to UBA to create UEBA or User and Entity Behavior Analysis. The strategy remains the same, but the scope of analysis has expanded to include entities involving things like daemons, processes, infrastructure, and so on.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

The post Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) appeared first on Gigaom.

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