Threat Signal Report

Joint CyberSecurity Advisory Alert BlackMatter Ransomware (AA21-291A)

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Today, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) issued a joint advisory Alert (AA21-291A) on the BlackMatter Ransomware.

According to the alert, BlackMatter is a possible rebrand of DarkSide, which was responsible for the attack on Colonial Pipeline back in May 2021. As of July, BlackMatter was observed targeting critical infrastructure entities in the United States. BlackMatter threat actors have collected over $15 Million (USD) in various forms of cryptocurrency over the years according to the alert. This advisory provides insight into the BlackMatter TTPs and the mitigations steps recommended to defend against it.

What is BlackMatter Ransomware?
Black Matter is a Ransomware as a Service (RaaS). Ransomware as a Service allows threat actors who lack the knowledge of how to create ransomware themselves to simply purchase the service. Essentially, threat actors will conduct reconnaissance and infiltrate a target network, which then allows for the deployment of ransomware. Once the ransomware process is complete, the RaaS authors will receive a specific payout depending on set terms, agreed upon in advance.

What does FortiGuard Labs Know about BlackMatter Ransomware/RaaS?
The BlackMatter gang made a couple of posts to hacking forums in late July. One post asked to purchase access to corporate networks in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK from cyber criminals and potentially corporate insiders for anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000. The targets must have minimum revenues of $100,000,000, 500 to 15,000 machines in the network, and must be previously untouched by other ransomware groups. In addition, BlackMatter is not willing to purchase access to healthcare and governmental organizations.

Other posts state the rules they follow and who they are. Their rules are simple: they do not attack hospitals, critical infrastructures (power plants, water treatment facilities, pipelines and oil refineries), defense industry, non-profit organizations and the government sector. If companies who belong to the no-attack categories are infected with BlackMatter, the gang will offer free decryption capabilities as a sign of good will. Other ransomware gangs such as REvil and DarkSide have the same rules, but some of their affiliates did not abide by their respective rules.

What Protections are Available for this Latest Joint Advisory?
Customers with the latest AV definitions are protected by the following signature:

W32/BlackMatter.A!tr.ransom

For further historical details about BlackMatter, please refer to our August 11 Threat Signal, which can be found here.

Definitions

Traffic Light Protocol

Color When Should it Be used? How may it be shared?

TLP: RED

Not for disclosure, restricted to participants only.
Sources may use TLP:RED when information cannot be effectively acted upon by additional parties, and could lead to impacts on a party's privacy, reputation, or operations if misused. Recipients may not share TLP:RED information with any parties outside of the specific exchange, meeting, or conversation in which it was originally disclosed. In the context of a meeting, for example, TLP:RED information is limited to those present at the meeting. In most circumstances, TLP:RED should be exchanged verbally or in person.

TLP: AMBER

Limited disclosure, restricted to participants’ organizations.
Sources may use TLP:AMBER when information requires support to be effectively acted upon, yet carries risks to privacy, reputation, or operations if shared outside of the organizations involved. Recipients may only share TLP:AMBER information with members of their own organization, and with clients or customers who need to know the information to protect themselves or prevent further harm. Sources are at liberty to specify additional intended limits of the sharing: these must be adhered to.

TLP: GREEN

Limited disclosure, restricted to the community.
Sources may use TLP:GREEN when information is useful for the awareness of all participating organizations as well as with peers within the broader community or sector. Recipients may share TLP:GREEN information with peers and partner organizations within their sector or community, but not via publicly accessible channels. Information in this category can be circulated widely within a particular community. TLP:GREEN information may not be released outside of the community.

TLP: WHITE

Disclosure is not limited.
Sources may use TLP:WHITE when information carries minimal or no foreseeable risk of misuse, in accordance with applicable rules and procedures for public release. Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction.