Hackers using the Sodinokibi ransomware published stolen data to further extort their victims, marking a first for operations using this attack vector.
Sodinokibi is usually identified in attacks against critical infrastructures, but that’s not a limit of the software. It’s a choice of the hackers who use it in various scenarios. It can be very quickly deployed against companies as well, as recently shown in the U.S. and the U.K..
The most famous recent victims include Travelex, a foreign exchange company in the United Kingdom, and Synoptek, a California-based service provider. In both of these cases, Sodinokibi operators claim to have stolen files as well, which is not uncommon.
What is uncommon, is the threat to release stolen data to the public, to extort victims into paying the ransom for the decryption. Many companies now have backups for the data, and cyber insurance on top, so the impact of a ransomware attack is greatly diminished.
It looks like the Sodinokibi operators are now following the example of the operators of another ransomware, Maze. According to a report on Bleeping Computer, hackers published 337MB worth of data on a Russian forum, presumably from a US-based company called Artech Information Systems.
Artech has yet to report a breach, but their official website is not working. It’s unclear whether it has anything to do with a Sodinokibi attack, but it’s a strong possibility.
Private and public organizations are adapting to existing cyber threats, which in turn prompts hackers to find new attack vectors and new ways to extort their victims. Publishing or selling stolen data is the next evolution of ransomware.