BianLian attacks Akumin

Date:

December 5, 2023

World map

Overview

Title

BianLian attacks Akumin

Victim

Akumin

Attacker

BianLian

Location

Plantation, USA

Plantation, Florida

Size of Attack

Unknown/TBD

First Reported

December 5, 2023

Last Updated

October 31, 2022

The BianLian ransomware group claimed an attack against Akumin. The group obtained several pieces of corporate information, including finance data, patients’ personal data, health and medical records, internal email correspondence, and Akumin’s software source code. Akumin is a leader in comprehensive outpatient radiology and oncology solutions and a partner of choice for US hospitals, health systems, and physicians. BianLian is not a traditional RaaS. They first emerged in June 2022 as a typical RaaS provider with Golang-based ransomware until a decrypter was released. In early 2023 they appear to have abandoned the ransomware payload portion of attacks in favor of less complicated data exfiltration and extortion attacks. This shows how successful the double extortion strategy is for ransomware groups, and we will likely see more groups join the likes of BianLian (and Karakurt before them). BianLian leverages open-source tooling and command-line scripts to engage in credential harvesting and data exfiltration. BianLian increased attack volumes as they have moved away from deploying ransomware payloads in favor of pure data extortion attacks, making them one of the more prominent groups in Q1-2023, although still lagging far behind leaders. It is unclear how much BianLian typically requests for a ransom amount, or if they are keen to negotiate the demand down. BianLian successfully attacked several high-profile organizations before a free decryption tool was released to help victims recover files encrypted by ransomware. The group appears to have abandoned the RaaS model in favor of pure data extortion attacks where data is exfiltrated and ransom demand issues, but no ransomware is deployed. BianLian has been observed deploying a custom Go-based backdoor for remote access. BianLian uses PowerShell and Windows Command Shell to bypass and evade security solutions. BianLian primarily targets financial institutions, healthcare, manufacturing, education, entertainment, and energy sectors by leveraging compromised Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) credentials. Almost exclusively a data extortion attack group now, rarely observed deploying ransomware payloads.

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