Cactus Ransomware Gang Claims The Theft Of 1.5tb Of Data From Energy Management And Industrial Autom

The Cactus ransomware group, who claimed responsibility for an attack on Schneider Electric, says they have stolen 1.5TBs of data from the energy management and industrial automation company. According to reports, the companies Sustainability Business division was targeted on January 17th. Impacts were felt as the companies cloud services faced outages, however, other divisions of the company were not impacted.

The Cactus ransomware group has released 25MB of the alleged stolen data on it’s TOR leak site, which included several pictures of passports and other company documents as proof of the attack.

Security Officer Comments:
Cactus has been around since March of 2023, attacking companies across all sectors. Their victim lists does however contain several high profile targets in critical manufacturing and the food and agriculture sector. The group is known to use netscan to look for targets on networks, using PowerShell commands to enumerate endpoints. The group will then use Windows Event Viewer to identify user accounts, along with a modified variant of the PSnmap Tool.

For the actual attack, the group uses legitimate RMM tools like Splashtop, AnyDesk, and SuperOps to gain remote access, using Cobalt Strike and another proxy tool called Chisel for post-exploitation activities.

Once privileges are escalated, the actor will use batch scripts to uninstall antivirus protections. Rclone is often used for data exfiltration.

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.