Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

6/3/2019
04:55 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Baltimore Ransomware Attacker Was Behind Now-Suspended Twitter Account

Researchers at Armor were able to confirm the person or persons behind a Twitter account that appeared to be leaking confidential files was the actual ransomware attacker that hit the city.

A now-suspended Twitter account that taunted and warned the mayor of Baltimore to pay the ransom for the city's hijacked servers has been confirmed to be that of the actual attacker who launched the May 7 ransomware campaign on the city.

Researchers at security firm Armor who have been investigating the documents leaked via the now-defunct account — which was suspended by Twitter this afternoon after posting a tweet riddled with obscenities — earlier told Dark Reading they had suspected the account was run by the actual attacker. 

Now they say they can confirm it was, indeed, that of the attacker after he or she posted the attack panel interface used to communicate with the city in the wake of the attack, which locked down Baltimore's servers with the so-called Robbinhood ransomware.

Eric Sifford, Armor security researcher, and Joe Stewart, an independent security researcher working on behalf of Armor said in a statement of their tying the attacker to the Twitter account: "We believe that when the Baltimore hacker posted, verbatim, the last two tweets from the Robbinhood Twitter profile into the ransomware panel (which is specific only to the city of Baltimore) that the attacker(s) had totally lost their patience and was fed up with anyone questioning their validity and capability to decrypt the city’s data."

The attacker today via the Twitter account also warned that the city had until June 7 to pay the ransom of $17,600 in bitcoin per system — a total of about $76,280 — even though the original ransom note said the data would no longer be recoverable after 10 days.

The city had vowed not to pay the ransom, although Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young hinted last week that paying was not out of the question. The attack is estimated to have cost the city around $18.2 million, according to the city budget office.

Efforts to reach the mayor's office have been unsuccessful. 

The Robbinhood attacker's Twitter account first appeared on May 12, posting what it claimed was a screenshot of sensitive documents and user credentials from the city of Baltimore. The data still has not fully recovered from the ransomware attack, which disrupted everything from real estate transactions awaiting deeds, bill payments for residents, and services such as email and telecommunications. Email remains down for most city operations.

Armor initially said the account could either have been the real attacker, a city employee, someone with access to the documents — or a hoax. 

The same ransomware recently hit the city of Greenville, N.C., as well as several power companies in India last month, according to Armor.

Related Content:

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Kelly Jackson Higgins
50%
50%
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2019 | 9:35:11 AM
Re: Twitter should help the authorities
Pretty sure LE was already tracking the account and that it's very likely they have info on the account.
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2019 | 9:34:07 AM
Twitter should help the authorities
If they have any ethics, they should forward IP address so the scum can be tracked down. 
I 'Hacked' My Accounts Using My Mobile Number: Here's What I Learned
Nicole Sette, Director in the Cyber Risk practice of Kroll, a division of Duff & Phelps,  11/19/2019
6 Top Nontechnical Degrees for Cybersecurity
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/21/2019
Anatomy of a BEC Scam
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/21/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-15593
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
GitLab 12.2.3 contains a security vulnerability that allows a user to affect the availability of the service through a Denial of Service attack in Issue Comments.
CVE-2019-16285
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
If a local user has been configured and logged in, an unauthenticated attacker with physical access may be able to extract sensitive information onto a local drive.
CVE-2019-16286
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
An attacker may be able to bypass the OS application filter meant to restrict applications that can be executed by changing browser preferences to launch a separate process that in turn can execute arbitrary commands.
CVE-2019-16287
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
An attacker may be able to leverage the application filter bypass vulnerability to gain privileged access to create a file on the local file system whose presence puts the device in Administrative Mode, which will allow the attacker to executed commands with elevated privileges.
CVE-2019-18909
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
The VPN software within HP ThinPro does not safely handle user supplied input, which may be leveraged by an attacker to inject commands that will execute with root privileges.