Monitoring deep, dark and surface web to detect exposure of your sensitive data, secret projects and initiatives, privileged users, critical systems, IT infrastructure, and more.
Monitoring and alerting of third party data breaches impacting your employees’ emails, usernames, and personally identifiable information.
Assess the risk footprint and security posture of key business relationships to get a handle on external risk introduced through your extended attack surface.

Sign Up for Updates

Digital risk monitoring of key personnel with telemetry and risk metrics. VIPRecon provides broad coverage of social media, deep and dark web, as well as physical threat assessments.
Our Ransomware Response Readiness Assessment, Playbook and Table Top Exercise gives your organization the best chance to survive and recover.
Gain visibility of your digital footprint by reaching into the most active areas of the cyber underground.
Fully managed and tailored Threat Intelligence services that becomes an extension of your current security processes and provides real-time visibility on new threats.
Providing research and investigations into known threats, to save security teams time and stress during a cyber emergency.

Sign Up for Updates

GroupSense offers a comprehensive package of services for assessing and responding to ransomware attacks, including negotiations with threat actors.
Actively researching and monitoring threats from vendors or third-party companies that can affect organizational security.
Monitoring for threats to elections, VIPs, and more on social media to proactively prevent or mitigate digital risk.
Focusing on the threats and risks that matter to your security processes and providing intelligence and insights to prevent or mitigate digital risk.
Taking the next step in security services, by proactively taking down phishing sites or anonymously interacting with threat actors to provide better intelligence.
Active monitoring of your brand's digital assets to protect its reputation and stop further brand abuse from targeting unsuspecting victims.

Sign Up for Updates

Combining your cyber and fraud programs to effectively fight threat actors continually scamming or threatening assets within an organization.
Executives are prime targets for fraudulent activities, but with a proactive approach, any attacks or threats can be neutralized before causing any damage.
Governments, political parties and candidates must all act now to activate cyber threat intelligence services to harden their information security and get ahead of inevitable cyber threats to the election process.
Resouce Banner

Resources

Building a Ransomware Response Bench

By Editorial Team on May 12, 2022 10:30:00 AM

Old misconceptions of lone hackers sitting in dark basements are long gone and are replaced by the new wave of cybercrime-as-a-service models marking a new era. With operations like many other businesses, ransomware and other cybercrime gangs have a business structure, “customer” support, and an org chart. How can organizations communicate effectively with the threat actors that are attacking their systems with ransomware? 

Topics: Blog Ransomware

The Software Won't Save You

By Editorial Team on Apr 29, 2022 10:30:00 AM

GroupSense CEO Kurtis Minder spoke at Colorado Mesa University’s Entrepreneurship Day on April 27. During his keynote, “The Software Won’t Save You,” he spoke about the genesis of GroupSense’s Ransomware practice, how attackers carry out ransomware attacks, and how each of us can help protect our own computer systems with simple cyber hygiene.

Topics: Blog

Ransomware Survival Guide

By Editorial Team on Apr 28, 2022 10:15:00 AM

Cybersecurity professionals now think of ransomware as inevitable for organizations of all shapes and sizes. With a relatively quick payoff, ransomware provides cyber criminals with a fast, reliable revenue stream. If your organization is facing an attack, it’s vital to get the first few decisions right. 

Topics: Blog Ransomware

Good Cyber Hygiene is a Civic Duty

By Kurtis Minder on Apr 20, 2022 10:30:00 AM

This article was originally published on INC.com

Topics: Blog

Ransomware Groups are Getting More Sophisticated

By Editorial Team on Mar 16, 2022 2:00:00 PM

Ransomware attacks have exploded over the past few years, and ransomware groups have reinvested their earnings into their malicious businesses.

Threat actor groups have discovered a significant opportunity within the market to provide Ransomware-as-a- Service (RaaS). Much like the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings we are all familiar with, RaaS operations have employees, customer service, and a business structure to lean on. It paves the way for inexperienced threat actors to utilize the expertise of more advanced threat groups, ultimately expanding the effects of ransomware to a broader breadth of targets.

One RaaS group, Conti, became prolific over the last several years, with attack numbers above 1,000. The ransomware group is having a pretty bad month. After aligning themselves with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, assumed Ukrainian members took the liberty of leaking months’ worth of internal chat logs and documents, revealing their internal business structure, office politics, and pay scales. GroupSense analysts have been translating and digesting the information, corroborating the intelligence with data that they have already collected on Conti through threat investigations.

Conti

Conti has successfully targeted and impacted significant players from the financial sector to the software industry, such as the Japanese electronics supplier JVCKenwood, London-based high society jeweler Graff, and the Irish health system. Last year, GroupSense threat analysts observed Conti’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) when the group breached a client’s network and demanded ransom.

In a recent chat log leak, GroupSense learned that Conti has upper and middle management with entry-level employees that do the leg work. The separation of roles within Conti enables the employees to focus on specific parts of the cyber kill chain. Gaining initial access to the system is the most time-consuming part of the attack. It requires reconnaissance and planning, which “initial access brokers” work on over weekends. This leg work allows for more attacks and ultimately more revenue for the ransomware group.

Conti typically deploys their ransomware through targeted spear-phishing and broader phishing campaigns that contain malicious attachments or links. The attachments serve as vessels for deploying other malware that utilizes more advanced techniques. These vessels are typically called “loaders” or “downloaders,” and they will do their best to mask the actual malware such as TrickBot, or in this case, Conti ransomware.

When our client was hit with Conti last year, they hired GroupSense for our Ransomware Negotiation Services. As part of the service, GroupSense confirms that the actor returns the decrypted data before the client pays the ransom. After providing sufficient proof that the actor returned the data, our negotiator helped our client pay the ransom. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here.

Conti Again?

Months later, the client’s customers started receiving phishing emails on the same thread that Conti used to communicate with the client, meaning the actor had access to the old email thread. This method, called email chain hijacking, allows the threat actor(s) to send phishing emails by replying to old email threads, which tricks victims into thinking the email is
legitimate. Access to the original email thread strongly indicates that Conti could be behind a repeat attack.

The phishing emails were riddled with typos, grammar mistakes and had other pronounced signs of phishing, including mismatched sender names and addresses with a badly spoofed email domain. Typically, when Conti uses phishing as a vector, they are careful to cover their tracks and make the email look as legitimate as possible. Email chain hijacking increases the likelihood of success for phishers. Furthermore, Conti was not known to use email chain hijacking in previous attacks. With these conflicting pieces of evidence, our analyst dove deeper to find out if the phishing attack was coming from Conti or a second and unrelated actor.

Connecting the Bots

The GroupSense analyst started an investigation to compile a list of threat actors who had
historically used the email chain hijacking technique within previous campaigns. During this investigation, the analyst identified the following groups:

  • TrickBot Gang
  • The newly revived Emotet
  • TA 551 (Shatak)
  • IcedID campaigns
  • QakBot campaigns

In November 2021, the intelligence community discovered that the TrickBot Gang teamed up
with TA551 to deploy Conti ransomware. In January 2022, SANS found that Emotet had reemerged with help from the TrickBot group. In February 2022, AdvIntel discovered that the Conti group had taken over the TrickBot operations.

Knowing several roads lead back to the Conti Group, the analyst deployed the malicious link in a sandbox environment. The link downloaded several pieces of malware to the device, including the IcedID loader operated by TA 551. GroupSense assessed with high confidence that the Conti ransomware syndicate was actively targeting our client’s customer base using stolen email threads.

Below are the hashes gathered upon detonation and the IP addresses that the payload contacted.

IP Addresses:

  • 208.95.112[.]1
  • 23.21.43[.]186
  • 54.225.179[.]233
  • 82.221.103[.]243
SHA-256 Hashes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 one matches a ruleset for the IcedID payload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 

Repeat Attacks

It’s rare for ransomware groups to attack the same target twice. Because RaaS groups run like businesses, they work on similar reputational rules as legitimate companies. If a RaaS group says they will return stolen data from their victims, they are expected to keep their word. If they return the data to the victims, they can only cash out on the data once.

In this case, Conti was trying to cash out twice on the same set of stolen data. Our analysts have not seen such a brazen attack that would damage a threat actor’s reputation before.

Wider Implications

This investigation suggests that the Conti ransomware syndicate is rapidly increasing its sophistication and standing in the initial access ecosystem. This increased sophistication means that they can hit larger, more complex systems and demand even higher ransoms in the future.

Topics: Blog

The Inner Workings of the Conti Ransomware Group

By Editorial Team on Mar 4, 2022 2:24:16 PM

Earlier this week, a Ukrainian security researcher with insights into the Conti ransomware group leaked almost two years’ worth of internal chat logs. Conti is responsible for a number of high profile ransomware attacks.

Topics: Blog

Squid Games Ransomware Cyber Drill

By Editorial Team on Jan 19, 2022 11:24:05 AM

Earlier this week, GroupSense's CEO, Kurtis Minder, participated in *AIMA's APAC Webinar: Cyber Security x Ransomware: Squid Games Edition.

*Note: An account is needed to view the replay.

Topics: News Blog Ransomware

Seven Tips for Negotiating with Hackers (or Anyone for that Matter)

By Editorial Team on Dec 30, 2021 12:47:57 PM

Kurtis Minder, GroupSense CEO and cofounder, sat down with Joe Meadows, Partner at Gordon & Rees, and talked about seven tips for negotiating with hackers (or anyone for that matter!). Here are a few highlights of that conversation:

Topics: News Blog Ransomware

Five Ransomware Predictions for 2022

By Editorial Team on Dec 22, 2021 9:30:00 AM

In 2021, we saw a steady rise in the number of ransomware attacks. It’s projected that global ransomware damage costs will reach $20 billion by the end of 2021. Nearly every week, you hear of a new high-profile catastrophic breach, but organizations of all sizes have been critically impacted by ransomware and cyber threats.

Topics: Blog Ransomware

Impact of CVE-2021-44228 Apache Log4j Vulnerability

By Editorial Team on Dec 16, 2021 3:42:30 PM

GroupSense performed a deep and dark web investigation into the critical remote code execution (RCE) zero-day impacting the Apache Java-based logging utility Log4j (CVE-2021-44228). This high severity vulnerability is already being actively exploited in the wild, per numerous public reports. The attack vector is extremely trivial for threat actors to exploit, requiring only a single string of code, and impacts software products from numerous vendors. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is maintaining an updated list of affected vendors.

Topics: Blog