Play attacks Metro Transit

Incident Date:

October 10, 2023

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Play attacks Metro Transit


Metro Transit




St Louis, USA

Missouri, USA

First Reported

October 10, 2023

The Play Ransomware Gang's Recent Attack on Metro

The Play ransomware gang has attacked Metro. Metro is the public transportation system serving the St. Louis metropolitan area. It is operated by Bi-State Development, a bi-state agency serving both Missouri and Illinois. Play posted Metro to its data leak site on October 10th but provided no further details.

Background on Play Ransomware

Play (aka PlayCrypt) is a RaaS emerged in the summer of 2022 with high-profile attacks on the City of Oakland, Argentina's Judiciary and German hotel chain H-Hotels, as well as exfiltrating data from Fedpol and the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS). Play has similarities to Hive and Nokoyawa ransomware. Play often compromises unpatched Fortinet SSL VPN vulnerabilities to gain access. Play has been observed leveraging Process Hacker, GMER, IOBit and PowerTool to bypass security solutions as well as PowerShell or command script to disable Windows Defender.

Recent Activities and Tactics

Play continued to increase attacks through the end of 2022 and into Q1 of 2023 and is one of the most active groups today. There is little information on how much Play demands for a ransom, but they have made good on their threats to leak the data of those who refuse payment. Play is an evolving RaaS platform known to leverage PowerTool to disable antivirus tools and security monitoring solutions and SystemBC RAT for persistence. Play is known to leverage tools like Cobalt Strike for post-compromise lateral movement and SystemBC RAT executables and legitimate tools Plink and AnyDesk to maintain persistence, as well as Mimikatz and living-off-the-land binaries (LOLBins) techniques. Play also abuses AdFind for command-line queries to collect information from a target’s Active Directory. Play innovated the intermittent encryption technique for improved evasion capabilities.

Geographical Focus and Double Extortion

Play ransomware gang has mainly focused attacks in Latin America, especially Brazil, but have attack outside of that region. Play employs tactics similar to both Hive and Nokoyawa ransomware, and also attempts double extortion by first exfiltrating victim data with the threat to post it on their leaks website.

Recent Ransomware Attacks

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