Zeppelin ransomware source code sold for $500 on hacking forum

Cyber Threat Summary:

A threat actor who goes by the name ‘RET’ is claiming to have access to the source code as well as a builder for the Zeppelin ransomware. Both are being advertised for sale on an underground forum for 500$, with screenshots to prove the legitimacy of the package. In the post, the actor claims to have simply cracked a builder version for the ransomware strain and had acquired the package without a license.

Security Officer Comments:
The Zeppelin ransomware gang was active between 2019 and 2022, with its operations coming to an end after law enforcement and security researchers found flaws in the gang’s encryption scheme, further enabling the creation of a decrypter to aid victims in recovering files. With a Zeppelin builder being advertised for sale, cybercriminals can use the builder to spin up a new encryptor strain based on the Zeppelin family which also addresses the vulnerabilities that were uncovered by researchers.

Suggested Corrections:
Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline: Ensure that backups are regularly tested and that they are not connected to the business network, as many ransomware variants try to find and encrypt or delete accessible backups. Maintaining current backups offline is critical because if your network data is encrypted with ransomware, your organization can restore systems.

Update and patch systems promptly: This includes maintaining the security of operating systems, applications, and firmware in a timely manner. Consider using a centralized patch management system; use a risk- based assessment strategy to drive your patch management program.

Test your incident response plan: There's nothing that shows the gaps in plans more than testing them. Run through some core questions and use those to build an incident response plan: Are you able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Would you turn off your manufacturing operations if business systems such as billing were offline?

Check Your Security Team's Work: Use a 3rd party pen tester to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against a sophisticated attack. Many ransomware criminals are aggressive and sophisticated and will find the equivalent of unlocked doors.

Segment your networks: There's been a recent shift in ransomware attacks – from stealing data to disrupting operations. It's critically important that your corporate business functions and manufacturing/production operations are separated and that you carefully filter and limit internet access to operational networks, identify links between these networks and develop workarounds or manual controls to ensure ICS networks can be isolated and continue operating if your corporate network is compromised. Regularly test contingency plans such as manual controls so that safety critical functions can be maintained during a cyber incident.

Train employees: Email remains the most vulnerable attack vector for organizations. Users should be trained how to avoid and spot phishing emails. Multi Factor authentication can help prevent malicious access to sensitive services.