Tuesday, 20 October 2020 10:43

Auto equipment maker KYB hit by Windows NetWalker ransomware

Auto equipment maker KYB hit by Windows NetWalker ransomware Pixabay

Indiana-based KYB Corporation, the biggest supplier of OEM automotive equipment to companies around the globe, appears to have been hit by the Windows NetWalker ransomware, with the criminals behind the attack threatening to leak data stolen from the company on the dark web.

Screenshots of invoices and the lists of directories on Windows computers have been posted already, with the threat that the data will be leaked in a little over two days.

iTWire contacted the company on Sunday seeking comment, but has not received any reply as yet.

KYB had annual revenue of about US$4.2 billion (A$5.9 billion) most recently, the company says on its website, adding that it has 32 facilities in 21 countries and 15 manufacturing plants in Asia, the US and Europe.

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"While much of KYB’s overall sales are from automotive shock absorbers, we also produce a wide range of hydraulic and electronic equipment used in a variety of applications in many aspects of modern life," KYB says.

"Vehicular and transportation applications include power steering systems, automotive electronics, construction equipment, agricultural equipment, special use vehicles, railroading, aircraft, and maritime shipping.

"Other KYB product applications include hydraulic equipment used in manufacturing, testing, lifestyle, and civil engineering projects, as well as special needs equipment such as wheelchairs. The varied uses and applications of KYB products and equipment demonstrate our commitment to helping create a safer, more efficient, and more comfortable society."

Ransomware groups have added distributed denial of service attacks to their arsenal in recent times, in order to add pressure on their victims to pay up.

Beginning at the end of 2019, some of the groups rapidly adopted a new feature of exfiltrating data from any attacked site before the encrypting of files began. This means that any attack also involves a data breach.

The exfiltrated data is then used to squeeze a victim, being released on the ransomware group's website in drips and drabs if the victim refuses to pay up.

Commenting on the NetWalker ransomware, Satnam Narang, staff research engineer, at security shop Tenable, said: "The NetWalker ransomware attacks rely on phishing emails, exploiting vulnerabilities in Apache Tomcat and Oracle WebLogic, as well as weak remote desktop protocol (RDP) credentials to gain initial access to a network.

"From there, they will utilise a variety of tools to move within an organisation as well as leverage other vulnerabilities to elevate privileges, which include CVE-2020-07906, a critical vulnerability in Microsoft's Server Message Block v3 (SMBv3), and CVE-2019-1458, a high-severity local elevation of privilege vulnerability in Microsoft Windows Win32k.sys.

"Based on what we know, the NetWalker ransomware group has had much success in 2020 and reportedly earned US$25 million (A$35 million) in ransom payments since March.

"Their success follows in the footsteps of other ransomware groups, such as Maze, who pioneered the concept of a 'leak website' or 'leak portal' where they name and shame their victims by threatening to release sensitive data they've exfiltrated if the ransom is not paid.

"It's important that organisations have a robust patch management process in place to ensure they are addressing unpatched vulnerabilities, which are proving to be a valuable tool for cyber criminals.

"Spearphishing emails or malicious emails with attachments are avenues for ransomware to propagate. Therefore, ensuring that email security gateway and endpoint security are up-to-date along with employee security awareness training could potentially thwart the next ransomware attack."

This year, NetWalker has been involved in eight incidents that were deemed worthy of being reported.

These included attacks on data centre giant Equinix, US security software-as-a-service provider Cygilant, Australian workforce design and delivery firm Tandem Corp, and Jands, an Australian company that distributes some leading audio, lighting and staging brands for installation, production and retail industries throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Another attack of note was on Forsee Power, a company that designs and manufactures smart lithium-ion battery systems for electro-mobility markets, with a sixth being on Trinity Metro, a regional transportation authority of the state of Texas.

Prior to that the University of California in San Francisco admitted it paid US$1.14 million to a gang that used NetWalker to attack its systems. An eighth case was that of Australian customer experience firm Stellar, that also operates across Asia, North America and Africa.

After a while, the data is also posted to dark web forums frequented by cyber criminals for use as they wish.

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Sam Varghese

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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