A rare win in the cat and mouse game of ransomware
While Emsisoft would not identify the victims, it said they included major manufacturers, transport companies and food suppliers in continental Europe, the UK and the United States.
The timeline of Emsisoft’s effort overlaps with Blackmatter’s ransomware attacks on two US agricultural organizations last month: New Cooperative, an Iowa grain cooperative, and Crystal Valley, a Minnesota agricultural supply cooperative. Both cooperatives quickly recovered, suggesting that Emsisoft may have helped. Neither company returned requests for comment.
Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director of cyber security at the federal Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, called the effort a model for public and private collaboration. The agency is trying to develop a comprehensive “whole nation” plan to address cyber threats, particularly for “critical infrastructure”, much of which is owned by the private sector.
CISA recently created the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, which teams government agencies with tech firms like Microsoft and Amazon, telcos like AT&T and Verizon, and cybersecurity firms like CrowdStrike and Palo Alto Networks to tackle threats like ransomware.
The Emsisoft operation is one of the few recent victories over ransomware, some in a nutshell. In June, the Justice Department announced that it had withdrawn $2.3 million in cryptocurrency that Colonial Pipeline paid to Blackmatter. Recently, an operation run by several governments took a major Russian ransomware organization, Revil, offline. The multigovernmental effort was first reported by Reuters.
That effort led to a number of small victories against Reville last summer. The group, which is responsible for thousands of ransomware attacks, found itself in the government’s cross hair after a high-profile attack on one of the world’s largest meatpacking operators, JBS, and Miami software company Kasia. The group used Kasia’s high-level access to its clients to take hundreds of people hostage over the past Fourth of July holiday.
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