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Sunday, 19 July 2020 08:26

Attackers use REvil ransomware to hit Texas retirement specialist

Attackers use REvil ransomware to hit Texas retirement specialist Image by Andrea Hamilton from Pixabay

Cyber criminals have hit the website of leading retirement specialist Actuaries and Associates using the REvil ransomware and are threatening to leak the 2000-odd social security numbers they have collected of those who use the service.

Some data that was stolen from the company has been leaked on the dark web by the attackers, who claim that they will leak all the data on the web if they are not contacted soon.

Actuaries and Associates, a third-party retirement plan administrator, is based in Texas and has been in business since 1980.

It offers services in annual government filings, annual valuation reporting, document services, nondiscrimination testing, participant services and plan design consultation.

Of itself, the company says: "Actuaries & Associates is a third-party administrator that provides a wide array of services to employers who sponsor retirement plans for their employees.

"We service qualified retirement plans, as well as non-qualified plans, from the most basic to the most complex. With multiple locations in Texas, we can offer in-person support to those clients who prefer local service providers.

"However, we are very experienced in servicing clients on a national level. In comparison to nationally based TPAs, our fees are extremely competitive, making our firm an ideal choice for employers who must prioritise cost when selecting a TPA."

REvil, which is also known as Sodinokibi, was first identified in April last year and is operated by the GOLD SOUTHFIELD threat group, according to the counter threat unit research team at Secureworks.

The people behind the software make a ransom demand and then wait to hear from the victim. If the ransom is not paid, then some of the data that has been pilfered during the attack is published.

If a REvil victim is not persuaded by this, then more data is made public. REvil also posts data on underground forums for other miscreants to pick up and use for their own nefarious purposes.

The ransomware is able to exploit a 2018 vulnerability in Windows to elevate privileges, a flaw that Microsoft rates as important.

According to Secureworks, the first instances of REvil were delivered by exploiting vulnerabilities in Oracle WebLogic. Since then, it has also added functionality to attack through malicious spam campaigns and remote desktop protocol attacks.

REVil has been used in recent attacks on drinks manufacturer Lion, IT services firm Geidi, Sydney sports store Instore, Melbourne ontract formulation and packing company Chem Pack and the offices of Cooke County in Texas.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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