Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 08 July 2020 18:11

Gang uses Ako ransomware to hit Hamilton Brown creative design firm

Screenshot from the Ako site on the dark web. Screenshot from the Ako site on the dark web.

Cyber criminals have used the Ako ransomware to attack Windows systems at the Hamilton Brown creative design agency in the UK, and released data from the company on the dark web after a ransom note did not evoke any response.

The company, which is headquartered in London and has an office in Bristol, has several well-known clients.

Among them are JLL, AXA, Mace Group, Alvarez & Marsal, Cushman & Wakefield, Holman Fenwick Willan, Liberty Global, Charterhouse, Cinven, Xaxis, BDO, CBRE, BNP Paribas, Grant Thornton, Electoral Commission, Clearwater International, HCA Healthcare, Mount Anvil, Investec, NHS, PwC, HSBC, Korn Ferry, Osborne Clarke, Willis Tower Watson, Herbert Smith Freehills, Baker McKenzie, Hogan Lovells, Lend Lease and Crowe.

It provides services such as pitches and proposals, digital services, design and production, Microsoft Office solutions, brand positioning, brand guardianship, campaigns and training.

The information that has been released is in zipped form and is personal information about workers at the firm.

Ako is one of the growing number of ransomware families that are designed to exfiltrate information from systems that are attacked, before encrypting the data on-site and generating a ransom note.

The note gives information about how much and to whom the victim should pay in order to decrypt the files that have been encrypted. It also gives the victim a deadline to react.

If the victim does not respond, then the attackers begin releasing the stolen information in drips and drabs. In this particular case, they have threatened to release more data after another seven days.

iTWire has contacted Hamilton Brown for comment.

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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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