The infamous cyber extortionist gang known as Maze Team has breached a company that supports the US Minuteman III nuclear deterrent, according to reports.
Westech International has several contracts with the U.S. military, including engineering support and maintenance for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program. ICBMs can carry a payload of multiple thermonuclear warheads and can travel more than 6,000 miles to their target. The United States has hundreds of ICBMs stockpiled in U.S. Air Force facilities in northern states such as Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.
Maze recently breached Westech to encrypt the company’s data and demand ransom, but not before copying sensitive data to conduct its usual double-extortion operations. In fact, Maze has already started leaking documents online to pressure Westech to cave in, Sky News reported.
“We recently experienced a ransomware incident, which affected some of our systems and encrypted some of our files,” a Westech spokesperson told the media outlet. “Upon learning of the issue, we immediately commenced an investigation and contained our systems. We have also been working closely with an independent computer forensic firm to analyse our systems for any compromise and to determine if any personal information is at risk.”
Some of the leaked files are said to include “extremely sensitive data, including payroll and emails,” but it is unclear if the dump also includes classified military information.
The report speculates that Russian-speaking operatives might be commanding the cyber offensive. Their intentions? “To monetise their haul by selling information about the nuclear deterrent on to a hostile state,” reporter Alexander Martin writes, citing U.S. court documents alleging that Russian cyber criminals and intelligence services have teamed up to steal classified government documents.