FBI, CISA warns Of ALPHV Blackcat Ransomware Attacking Hospitals

To raise awareness of the ALPHV Blackcat ransomware as a service (RaaS) that targets the US healthcare industry, the FBI, CISA, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have collaborated to release a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA).

To get initial access to the victim’s device, the BlackCat/ALPHV ransomware uses previously compromised credentials.

The malware compromises Active Directory administrator and user accounts as soon as it has access.

“Since mid-December 2023, of the nearly 70 leaked victims, the healthcare sector has been the most commonly victimized”, reads the joint advisory.

You can analyze a malware file, network, module, and registry activity with the ANY.RUN malware sandbox, and the Threat Intelligence Lookup that will let you interact with the OS directly from the browser.

“This is likely in response to the ALPHV Blackcat administrator’s post encouraging its affiliates to target hospitals after operational action against the group and its infrastructure in early December 2023”.

ALPHV Blackcat Attack Techniques

ALPHV Blackcat affiliates obtain initial access to a company through sophisticated social engineering methods and open-source investigation.

Actors utilize phone calls or SMS messages to gain credentials from staff members to enter the target network, posing as business IT and helpdesk employees.

ALPHV Blackcat affiliates use uniform resource locators (URLs) to communicate with victims via live chat, making demands and restoring the encrypted files.

ALPHV Blackcat affiliates use remote access tools like AnyDesk, Mega sync, and Splashtop to prepare for data exfiltration after they get access to a victim network.

Affiliates of ALPHV Blackcat establish a user account called “aadmin” and utilize Kerberos token generation to get access to domains.

Once inside networks, they employ tools like Plink and Ngrok, authorized remote access and tunneling tools.

ALPHV Blackcat affiliates get multi-factor authentication (MFA) credentials, login credentials, and session cookies using the open-source Evilginx2 adversary-in-the-middle attack framework.

The ransomware is then deployed, with the ransom note embedded as a file.txt.

Ransom Note

The finding comes after CISA warned last week that there had been active exploitation in the wild of a critical-severity authentication bypass vulnerability in ConnectWise ScreenConnect (CVE-2024-1709). 

The co-founder of RedSense, Yelisey Bohuslavskiy, has connected the compromised state of Change Healthcare to the ScreenConnect vulnerability.

This advisory contains updates to the FBI’s FLASH BlackCat/ALPHV ransomware indicators of compromise for April 2022 and December 2023.

A ScreenConnect remote access domain is one of the additional indications of the compromise included.

ScreenConnect remote access domain

The FBI, CISA, and HHS advise software manufacturers to increase their clients’ security postures by limiting the impact of ransomware techniques by using secure-by-design concepts and strategies in software development practices.

It is imperative that “critical infrastructure organizations” implement the guidelines into practice to lessen the probability and consequences of data extortion incidents and the ALPHV Blackcat ransomware.

You can block malware, including Trojans, ransomware, spyware, rootkits, worms, and zero-day exploits, with Perimeter81 malware protection. All are extremely harmful, can wreak havoc, and damage your network.

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