Akira attacks A123 Systems

Incident Date:

July 12, 2023

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Akira attacks A123 Systems


A123 Systems




Novi, USA

Michigan, USA

First Reported

July 12, 2023

The Akira Ransomware Gang's Attack on A123 Systems

The Akira ransomware gang has attacked A123 Systems. A123 systems is a developer and manufacturer of lithium iron phosphate batteries and energy storage systems. It is a subsidiary of the Chinese Wanxiang Group Holdings. Akira posted A123 Systems to its data leak site on July 11th, claiming to have stolen more than 350GB of data.

Akira Ransomware Gang's Modus Operandi

The Akira ransomware gang, first identified in May 2023, utilizes the Windows Restart Manager API to effectively close processes or terminate Windows services that might be actively using a file, thereby allowing the encryption process to proceed unhindered. A ransom note named "akira_readme.txt" is placed in each computer folder affected by the ransomware. This note serves as a communication from the attackers, explaining the situation and providing links to the Akira data leak site and negotiation site.

The ransom note issued by the Akira group contains a chilling warning: "Regarding your data, in the event that we fail to reach an agreement, we will attempt to sell your personal information, trade secrets, databases, source codes, and anything else deemed valuable on the dark market to multiple threat actors simultaneously. Subsequently, all of this compromised information will be publicly exposed on our blog."

Impact and Extortion Tactics

Like other ransomware groups, the Akira gang infiltrates corporate networks and expands its reach to other connected devices. After acquiring Windows domain admin credentials, the threat actors deploy ransomware across the entire network. Before encrypting the files, the attackers take the additional step of exfiltrating sensitive corporate data. This stolen information is used as leverage during their extortion tactics, as they warn victims that the data will be made public unless a ransom payment is made.

The Akira gang has invested considerable effort into designing their data leak website, which features a retro aesthetic and allows visitors to navigate it using command inputs.

Recent Ransomware Attacks

The Recent Ransomware Attacks (RRA) site acts as a watchtower, providing you with near real-time ransomware tracking of attacks, groups and their victims. Given threat actors’ overarching, lucrative success so far, ransomware attacks have become the most ubiquitous, and financially and informationally impactful cyber threat to businesses and organizations today.

The site’s data is generated based on hosting choices of real-world threat actors, and a handful of other trackers. While sanitization efforts have been taken, we cannot guarantee 100% accuracy of the data. Attack updates will be made as source data is reported by reputable sources. By viewing, accessing, or using RRA you acknowledge you are doing so at your own risk.